This most epic of Fluid Ounces’ epic rock songs is a piano-less answer to the “shock and awe” campaign launched by George W. Bush in 2003, though the song came much later. To this I’ll add that this song rocks, and I mean it really ROCKS. It starts with its riff, and then it kicks in with more sheer power than you’ve ever heard in a Fluid Ounces song. The drums and guitars are blinding through the loud choruses and solos before its finger-picked acoustic guitar outro, laden with feedback as a B-52 flies off into the sunset. Realizing that this is the heaviest rock song in the Fluid Ounces catalog, it proves how diverse Seth Timbs is in his styles and how effectively he can move from piano pop to Smashing Pumpkins.
The subject matter of this song is atypical for Seth Timbs, reaching into political commentary (thus making a Smashing Pumpkins comparison seem to fall short). The song itself is about an airplane pilot and a person launching bombs (a “bombardier”) as they fly over enemy territory. You imagine them in different compartments of their large plane, filled to the brim with bombs, unable to see each other as they talk back and forth. In their faceless conversation, we hear about the facelessness of modern warfare, dropping bombs on men and women and then flying away to safety—“just pull the switch and run”—without really experiencing the bleak consequences as the enemy becomes so faceless.
This song was only played two or three times before it was shelved, and all the band would ever say about it was that it needed to be “re-tooled” before they would play it again. I seriously can’t imagine what could be done to make this raw rock song any better, though they may have wished to make it sound more like a Fluid Ounces song or just shorten it. It never re-surfaced though, with the band staying true to form and choosing to work up new material instead of re-treading old songs. When I heard that Seth’s next songwriting project would be entirely guitar-based, it immediately crossed my mind that “Bombardier” would make a comeback. But when Hot New Singles took shape, it was obvious that it would fit in less there than it did with Fluid Ounces.
So on the shelf it remains, and the best I can offer is the mp3 of the demo.