Review Summary: Reframing the recent past
Feeling nostalgic about a period of time that one really shouldn’t
feel nostalgic about is a weird sensation. It doesn’t have as much to do with masochism as it does with contextual reframing: a painful breakup may have been for the better, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time; hitting rock bottom may have demarcated the beginning of recovery, even if you didn’t know this at the time. Simultaneously, the inverse could be true as blissful ignorance can be annihilated: remember the relative collective optimism of the first corona-lockdown, one year ago? Either way, time appears to be key: the ultimate, intangible tool persistently altering perceptions and making me question my own damn sanity.
Me and My Absent Mind Again
appears to be in a similar state of confusion, and does its very best to make some kind of sense out of the recent past. The record repurposes 2020’s Me and My Absent Mind
with a combination of new songs, reworkings, and old songs. It perfectly captures the collective fever dream the world has been living in for the past year, feeling vaguely familiar while adding novel elements. While Sullii’s voice is as smooth as ever and the songs are still wonderfully catchy, the jazzy influences are toned down in favour of more acoustic guitars and an understated sense of urgency. The reworked ‘spirit’ is quieter, hazier, as the memories of a fading love are more distant, more ruptured. Similarly, ‘never again’ retains its irresistible chorus and finds the artist adding a gentle epilogue, emphasising that “I couldn’t see you again
” developed into more than a pained shout: presently, it’s a cold, harsh truth.
Thankfully, the album exudes an odd sense of hope through its new songs: the reframed past may seem bleak, but the present is at least equally dire. Somehow, it manages to acquire strength from this gloom. ‘hidden’ finds its excellent footing in a punchy beat, elegantly bouncing off of Sullii’s velvety voice. The bridge sees featured artist nothing,nowhere. reframing one of his most confident lyrics into an icy blue canvas, adding a touch of hope to track. Elsewhere, ‘back from you’ is ...Again
’s most energetic song, expanding on the previously established minimalistic optimism. The bouncy chorus references, and, to an extent, reprises 2020’s ‘Forgetter’, with the added context making the pair feel like a complete picture. The pair could only coexist in their current order, operating as the regretful and the wistful, respectively. Seemingly stressing that there is no subjective past without the present, it functions as a reminder that everything is temporary: whether this be misery, love, or melancholy. What this means depends on context, time, personal experience, and many more aspects. However, it most definitely means something
, and that might just be enough.
The wonderful one-two punch consisting of ‘me and my’ and ‘absent mind’ are positioned similarly to the record’s 2020 counterpart, entirely untouched by the present. The stream-of-consciousness songs are not exactly a cheerful bunch, relying on an ethereal pensiveness to get their internal escapism across. Yet, the reason they work just as well on Sullii’s reframing of the past can be ascribed to the fact that there is an inherent sense of consistency to his music. Some things change, some things don’t. Some things are good, some things aren’t. They’re simple statements, encapsulating hope and despair all the same. If anything, ...Again
is a reminder of such facts of life, packaged in 30 minutes of catchy emo, posing one daunting question: how will the present feel once it is a repurposed past itself?