Review Summary: An Ode to the Unknown and Misremembered
Kississippi feels familiar, almost nostalgic. We Have No Future, We Are All Doomed
sounds like something I've heard before, but what that something is feels foreign. Almost like a dream, its warm tones wash over me, and almost like a forgotten memory, moments appear and disappear in fragments: forgotten sentiment, blurred retrospection. Just like these thoughts, the Philadelphia band's second EP, (their first released through Soft Speak Records) feels fragmented. Yet in its short, eighteen minutes, We're All Doomed
streamlines these splinters, channelling them into what is ultimately magical and dreamlike in its presentation. Paradoxical, I know. But that's the magic. Bear with me.
From its reverb-soaked vocal passages, to its mesmeric guitar melodies, intertwining in the laziest, simplest of manners, We're All Doomed
indeed feels dreamlike. In the vein of other bands who perform this sort of sad, danceable pop, thoughtfully exhibiting and eliciting vague, introspective ramblings of the past, Kississippi, too, do justice to all the teen dreams, the teenage feelings. Each of the songs, from Unkempt Leather to closer Greyhound, build quite similarly. Guitarist Colin Kupson loops a simple guitar passage, often light and bouncy, which repeats itself throughout the track with little to no variation. Singer Zoe Reynolds floats into the mix, at times complimenting her slight, though seamless drawl with an equally unenthusiastic backing vocal. Unambitious, restrained. Fucking beautiful.
Make no mistake, I'd fall asleep to them, but Kississippi are far from soporific. Along with the familiar repetitions of uninventive and recycled melodies, the band bring along an intentional charm. In the songwriting, simplism works in the band's favour, building a melancholic and introspective backdrop that is as transportable as it is pretty, as it is nice
. There's a lack of urgency in We're All Doomed
that's just so very welcoming.
In 'This Song Used to Be About You', Zoe sings
"What makes you so sure that I am
not as lucky as you are?"
Whether this line references her luck during or after her relationship with whom this song refers to is questionable, and from either perspective offers somewhat of a bold statement. Regardless, the despondent, though nonetheless numb tone contrasts well with Zoe's peppier melodies. Indeed, these dancier elements are what make Kississippi so much more interesting than the foundation upon which their songs are built: fluid bass lines build subtle grooves into which the guitars are submerged by equally watery snares and high hats. 'Dogma' even resorts to the use of programmed drums which compliment Zoe’s subtle distorted vocals rather well.
No doubt, We’re All Doomed
has its quirks, enough of them to keep the listener captivated throughout its short runtime. Above all else, however, is the duo’s knack for blurring that fine line between fun and despondent emo music, whether intentionally or otherwise. Kississippi discover and exploit that golden mean between hindsight and repetition of the past, in a narrow exploration of pretty sounds drowned in a nostalgic haze. It’s difficult to look into the past; the influence of the present never escapes us, though we claim to know it so well. For some, or at least for me, the past feels dreamlike, fragmented. I could cry to it, but I could also dance about it. We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed
, so let the anxieties fade.