Review Summary: Are you okay?
So much about Loss
, the third album from English singer/songwriter Boring Bathtimes, embodies intimidation. It is one 48-minute song, which was unprecedented in his discography at the time and has not been attempted again since. There is no separation of sections, where one movement has a certain title and another section has a different one. It’s all together. In fact, it is difficult to discern various movements across all 48 minutes. Very few times does Loss
actually diverge into a disparate realm of music, or automatically split itself into even portions. It is an emotional and intimate display of balance, unrecognized strength, and one’s ability to simply overcome.
The first 10 minutes of the album is a simultaneous showcase of combining multiple ideas in one swift motion, and maintaining a feeling of stability. An extremely natural rhythm is the very first sound you’re meant to hear. Acoustic drums are gradually introduced, various strings are plucked, two distinct yet harmonious voices are rendered. Whether or not this was intentional is unclear, but for a while it’s the only passage in Loss
that contains vocals, and it acts as a great method of being eased into the record. The following moments comprise one of the few blatantly unexpected twists across the whole runtime; a jazzy improvisational piece. At least, it sounds
improvised, but at around 12:45, that mood takes a very much intended turn into orchestrated music. Every instrument had been proceeding at its own pace, all the sounds being connected by the slimmest of margins. And they become something remarkably beautiful, even somewhat catchy, all at the same time. Boring Bathtimes provides a clear exhibition of power with seemingly minimal effort, and although the music itself is avowedly personal, it puts the listener at ease.
This is a façade.
eviscerates you. It takes a long spell to get to this point, and once it finally reaches the top of that metaphorical mountain, holds you up by your collar and wrings the air out of your lungs. It is replaced by the cold, dry stench of burning and a steel-infused atmosphere. Lingering harsh noise is present in every direction, with nothing but noisy claustrophobia surrounding you. Voices can be heard but are by no means discernible, which generates and enhances a feeling of being surrounded, almost being watched, yet still being lonely. No one expects the album to invade so precisely into the listener’s psyche, let alone in such a drastic way. There is no clear or absolute turning point, no undeniable moment where things turn from melancholy to depraved. It’s somewhere, though. Once the halfway point is crossed, no happiness is to be found or discovered. It was taken. Forcefully.
While drums belabor their way to an unspecified freedom and Boring Bathtimes repeatedly utters whatever the opposite
of a sweet nothing is, Loss
, as a whole, steps uncomfortably close. It downright ceases being pleasantly peaceful, and morphs into long droning motions. Acoustic guitars that were present near the beginning, which has been nearly forgotten by this point, are replaced with blaring electric tones. And this is how the artist represents themselves. The album begins as a good friend, someone who invited you out to dinner with no evident prerequisites. Just because they wanted to get to know you. They’re able to keep that veil on for just long enough, until you finally notice something is wrong. You eventually realize there must have been a reason they did this. This is when the waterworks come.
Trust me, you’re fine. I’m really happy I got to spend this time with you. I just wish there was something I could do. You’re telling me all this information, and I can’t do anything to help. I’m sorry.