Review Summary: When the banal becomes the adventure
How many recent reviews started with an unoriginal summary ranting about how the current pandemic situation impacts our daily life? Way too many, and this one is going to be no exception, because like summer, but colder
is a pure representation of said situation. Auteur/mastermind Mikey Montoni, a college starter, is an apt representative of the generation that has it different: starting college - supposedly the best years of your life according to American Pie
- when every opportunity to be and feel young is inexorably nipped in the bud is ironic at best. In this period, Montoni was thus stuck home. When you are stuck at your parents' house, the kitchen becomes the studio.
In such conditions, this debut album - like most lo-fi recordings - embraces its limitations. The tracks are properly bleeding by sometimes tapping into in-the-red levels, each fault thus being spotted immediately. Yet, the recording process gives the project its soul, the sound-quality becoming an active element of the music. Yes, it sounds
like it was taped in the kitchen, but recording into a communal room - sometimes needed for other purposes than recording, like, uh, cooking - gives the songs a vibrant undertone. They are short and urgent, as if - well - they had
to be recorded fast. Despite this global imperativeness, the mixing is cleverly done as each instrument is distinguishable (in your face …And Justice for All
). The bass accordingly takes on the most prominent role on some tracks ("the sickest jumpshot this side of new hampshire", "crying and ***ting and eating spaghetti"), while some post-punky tones dominate "everybody thinks you're a fake but i believe in you (p.s. if you are a fake dont tell me i dont want to know"). However, the album's very own edge lies in its way of making riffs and dynamics shine. The record indeed starts with emo dynamics on opener "poison ivy", while a post-rockian crystalline riff overlooks the punky structure on "crying and ***ting and eating spaghetti".
The best exercise in dynamics is to be found on "joining the mile high club", accentuated by a crunchy bass and subdued guitar lines. Another bravery moment happens on "everybody thinks youre a fake…", where a ghastly post-punk tone sets, well, the tone before shouted vocals and distorted guitar take over the preceding motif in a pure angsty emo climax. Whereas passion is disseminated throughout the whole twenty-eight minutes, the intensity is pushed to 11 when hardcore punk linings appear here and there ("the sickest jumpshot"). Of course, this constant energy overflow does sometimes result in less refined passages: some guitar tones on "profound yet self-aware midwest emo song title that has you in stitches" dangerously lean towards the grinding side of dissonant, and the vocals at times testified the singer's many ciggy breaks, like during the chorus of "crying and ***ting…". Still, these problems soon fade away. What mainly remains is the songwriting, and the huge heart this record possesses.
If the midwest emo song titles have not been a sufficient signal, like summer, but colder
is a discharge of emotions; the kind that makes you want to CTRL+ALT+DELETE your life. The problem is, you cannot simply call a task manager to brutally end whatever toxic task/person is ruining your current situation. Factor in relatives that do not understand you, and all that's left is self-therapy ("i want therapy, but i cant afford anything but this guitar"). Do not expect a self-flagellating tirade though, as Wasted Space instead acutely describes the times during which it was created (have I already told you 2020 was a ***ty year?). The apathy enforced by the lockdown - "ive got no job and ive got no home and ive got no money so ill just get stoned" - attempts at self-improvement - "one of these days i'll change my ways" - or the confrontations that created the ok boomer
meme - "tired of fighting to be heard against a tide of angry veterans who wanna shoot more people from other continents" - all document how youth feels in 2020. So, sure, it might sound like the typical emo "me-against-the-world" lyrical content, but it rather represents a vibrant life statement. In such times, the banal becomes the adventure, simply because there is no place for adventure anymore. For the most mundane event to become extraordinary, it thus is necessary - and sufficient - to start telling it.
This album is a fu