Review Summary: Gut-wrenching beauty
“Bull Believer” may end up being one of the most important songs of the year. With its two-part narrative, the first half of the song tells the sad vision of watching someone you know succumb to addiction while the latter half embraces a bittersweet reflection on teenage years. With every passing line and gritty guitar passage, the sadness builds and tension grows thicker. Yet all of this tension is released at once as the gut-wrenching screams of ”Finish Him!”
pierce through the cacophony of instrumentation as the narrator comes to terms with the person they are today. It’s beautiful, emotional, and resolute – and it perfectly captures the essence of Rat Saw God
Wednesday’s unique blend of shoegaze, country, and indie rock provides a great display of the melodic, emotional, and raw . “What’s So Funny” and “Formula One” showcase the somber and mellow side of Rat Saw God
. The former strips away the layers of instrumentation, leaving the soundscape a barren wasteland with nothing more than haunting guitar passages, quiet drum work, and nearly whispered, subtle vocals. The latter of the two has a bit more of an uplifting approach, with its smooth groove accentuated by airy, country-twinged leads and a beautiful contrast of male/female vocals. On the other hand, “Hot Rotten Grass Smell” and the build-up of “Turkey Vultures” demonstrate the noisy elements of Wednesday’s style. The opener wastes no time, jumping straight into gritty guitar chords filled with feedback and distortion that introduces Rat Saw God
in an ambitious manner. Likewise, the release of tension in “Turkey Vultures” adds to the noisy atmosphere of the record with grainy leads, energetic drum chops, and shouts that gain intensity as the song progresses.
However, where Wednesday truly excels is in combining these two juxtaposed aspects. Their ability to seamlessly transition between mellow melody and intense grit is what defines Rat Saw God
. The quiet verses of “Quarry” with their solemn reflections are contrasted with the eruption of distorted choruses where every instrument adds a new level of intensity that exudes power and emotion. In a darker tone, “Bath County” is filled with eerie verses that give way to soaring and driving choruses laden with wavering shouts and grainy guitars full of ferocity. What perfectly encapsulates this dynamic is the aforementioned “Bull Believer,” with its beautiful juxtaposition between the agonizing part one of the “Bull” and the cathartic release of the climatic “Believer.”
Alongside the powerful instrumentation, the album’s subtly impactful lyricism provides an additional layer of Rat Saw God
’s beauty. Throughout the record, Wednesday wears their heart on their sleeves, emotionally opening up for anyone to relate to. The lyrical passages of “Chosen to Deserve” describe the defining moments of adolescence to a lover in such a dry way that it’s a simple reflection of what defined their early years and what to expect of the girl who used to sneak out and drink herself sick. “Quarry,” with its detailed descriptions of the lives and mannerisms of civilians, invites listeners to step into a fictional neighborhood with its problems and redemptions. Simple imagery, though sporadically found throughout, adds extra depth to the powerful surface-narrative by giving a focal point to latch on to, like the bull of “Bull Believer” or the analogous ”I ran like hell into the burning house”
from “Got Shocked.” Although not necessarily taking risks in crafting complex or ambiguous lyrical narratives, Rat Saw God
is rich in matter-of-fact, emotional lyrics that perfectly fit Wednesday’s style.
With such an abrasive approach of mellow and noisy instrumentation and upfront and personal lyricism, Rat Saw God
could be described as an album characterized by “flaws” – but that’s exactly what defines the record. Without polish or overproduction, Wednesday sound is a powerful exclamation of a narrative, full of noise, beauty, and deeply relatable feelings and stories. It may not feel perfect, but it’s real.