Review Summary: postscript
“and how I wish I could get over myself, sometimes.
Sometimes I wish I could get over death. Or, at least, stop wondering exactly what went through his head before nature subsequently swallowed him whole, hopes and dreams and all. I think I’ve accepted it at this point, I mean, I’ve had over three years to cope, yet traces of his being crop up in the most unexpected ways. ‘Graveyards’ is the most recent stubborn reminder I’ve had, and it seems Victoria and company are unable to completely let go as well.
“If graves could talk, they’d have a lot to say / You ran into the night with nothing but your wits
and an empty two-six
For those unaware of Canadian jargon (I had to look it up myself), a two-six is a bottle of liquor containing 26 ounces, connecting my own experience with loss through the shared lens of substance abuse. Having written about death before, it’s a bit haunting to see a line of mine unintentionally lifted yet repaired in such a definitive manner. While my past self talked about hope, unsure of the life after death, Dad Thighs instead confidently states: “and I will see you again / with a new lust for life
”. Holding onto loved ones, despite their absence, in a way that only drives forward an appreciation for one’s own life is a stunning mantra I never thought to see within a song so distressed about death. Recognition of the past as fuel for the future, or something along those lines. I may be projecting.
“I feel nothing at all / I wanna feel nothing
Although the emo/screamo cliches and musicality are largely the same compared to their previous release, they’ve come to not only accept this but embrace it with arms wide open. As a result, this lyrically feels like an epilogue or a postscript to their debut LP, transcribing lines about the same airport bars and feelings of emptiness, yet it never feels uninspired. There’s still this drive for innovation, as seen with the swooping electronic white walls that bookend the opener and the diverse moods seen in between tracks (well, diverse might be a stretch but there’s something to be said about the divergent spritely twinkles on ‘Mutually Exclusive’, despite the lyrical content). ‘Stimulus Progression’ is aptly named, both for its lyrical content (which I’ll hit on a bit later) and its, well, stimulating progression in songwriting and production. Around the 3-minute mark a falling bassline abruptly ends the post-rock meanderings and is immediately followed by a near-surf rock guitar riff that explodes into an energetic breakdown. As a whole, it’s extremely intuitive in how it meanders through different tempos, chord progressions, and genres, allowing for Victoria’s vocals to breakthrough with that same screamed desperation. Which leads me to the second type of stimulus:
“I am this overflowing ashtray / I am a bug on your windshield / I am a hole in which to fuck.
Acting as both a commentary on modernized sex culture and her own struggles with these empty nights of lust, the lyrics are brutally honest and condemning. It’s something the band is actively fighting against as well, striving for “safer spaces” and “opposition to the hierarchies of gender, race, and class” within the scene. But I digress, this album is lyrically disjointed between songs yet overarchingly united in spirit while paying homage to its career-defining past ghosts (that they now do not fear, it seems). So as the acoustic closing track whisks us back to that airport bar, back to that cloudy sunset, back to those feelings of uncertainties and anxieties, back to the ghosts of missed opportunities and missed friends, etc. I think Victoria wants to remind us that:
“a laugh is all we’ll ever need / and at times I still forget to smile.