Review Summary: The sound of falling apart
The Origin Of My Depression is an album I would gladly never listen to again. There was no warmth in its sounds, no comfort in its textures and vocals. It was just misery. Pure unfiltered misery. UBOA is a one woman project from Australia, masterminded by Xandra Metcalfe who specialises in Noise music. Her previous releases have featured warped ugly noise pieces warped into lush soundscapes comprised of vocals and ambient music. It can be oddly pretty and bone chillingly cold at the same time. Her ability to master the ability of summoning two conflicting feelings at one is brought to life on this record in the most uncomfortable of ways. The Origin Of My Depression, If you couldn’t tell by the title of the album, much less the cover which is the edge of a hospital bed, Is dark. Damn dark. As in, there is zero hope on this thing. Any pretext of positivity you have going into this record gets zapped away as soon as track 1 ends. It is bleak. And it is not fun.
Origin, naturally tackles the subject of Xandra’s mental health, from destroyed romances to her transition, all the bases of personal misery are brought to the forefront. The opening track ‘Detransitioning’ is a haunting mesh of airy whispered vocals mixed with clattering found sounds which erupt into a wall of distortion and static. Things take a much more vocal turn for the worse on the title track where she unleashes throat shredding shrieks which threaten to drown out the noise surrounding her. The album’s darkest moment is undoubtedly ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’, a brief but aptly terrifying song which mixes deep booming vocal effects and a pounding harsh rhythm similar to a doom metal track. It’s honestly terrifying and one of the most uncomfortable pieces of music I’ve ever sat through, as short as it is. The record never reaches such brutal heights as the remaining two tracks are certainly more restrained and soft (all though the nearly nine minute ‘An Angel Of Great and Terrible Light’ threatens to teeter over the edge as the drones backing the acoustics on this track eventually swallow it whole before this rough, black metal like landscape just devours everythine. The finale is the ten minute ‘Misspent Youth’, a Piano led song with deadpan detached vocals and chords which repeat and layer over each other, providing sort of a book end for the record as a whole, effectively putting us right back where we started. How fun.
The Origin Of My Depression is a hard album to swallow at first listen. The sheer unflinching rage and hatred bubbling inside is at times overwhelming and uncomfortable to listen to, but it’s a strikingly beautiful and occasionally gorgeous piece of work, an album that above all else is Human. And that’s one of the best things I can say about an album.
Lay Down and Rot
Please Don’t Leave Me
An Angel Of Great and Terrible Light