Album: The Titles of the Songs on This Album Are Complete Sentences.
Category: Alternative / Pop / Shoegaze
Release Date: 2022-05-20
Author: Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
One might not imagine that introspection and nerdiness would make for the most relatable of combinations, but Grahm Eberhardt and Wade Saathoff certainly make a compelling case for it on their latest album as Mayhem Lettuce. With such a title as The Titles of the Songs on This Album Are Complete Sentences., one could be forgiven for entering the record with a dismissive attitude, expecting its 17 tracks, all equally cumbersome in their designations, to be little more than flippant and aimless diatribes without real purpose… and this would be a mistake.
Weaving dreamy and psychedelic tapestries of post-grunge alt. pop, the duo adorn the album with celestial layers of guitar and organ, and light arrangements of programmed and performed drums, upon which Eberhardt’s keenly disaffected voice primarily delivers strange monologues that run a strange gamut of topics, only occasionally veering into melodic accompaniment. Oh, there are the nerdy moments like on “This Will Begin to Make Things Right,” which is sure to ruffle a few Star Wars fans’ feathers, or the observations about the chemistry of light and color on “Why Are There No Green Stars?,” and there’s a strange delight in “We Have Yet to Achieve Escape Velocity From 1967” as Eberhardt’s snarky tone both mocks and adores the titular era.
On the other hand, there is a somber and serious resonance to certain songs wherein a very palpable atmosphere of humor is compounded by the wisdom of experience – from the shoegazing laments of a relationship that never was and perhaps never should’ve been on “I’m Afraid This May Take Long Than We Thought,” to the jaunty and nervous anthem to the misplaced youthful aggression of being rejected in “By Definition, a Crush Must Hurt,” and even to the gritty reproach of “When will you learn that your actions have consequences, you freaking fricks?” in “Your Fantasies Can Never Be Quenched.” Similarly, “Hold On to 17 with Almost All of Your Might” feels like Cat Stevens’ “Father & Son” for the 21st century as its distorted stabs of guitar and voice depicting the defiance of 17 are met with the patience and assurance of older age.
As well, the psychedelic bluesy noir of “I Am Not One of You” plays as a perfect backdrop to Eberhardt’s claims of things he does not do or has never done; one can’t help but laugh at how perfectly alien it is… and indeed, this applies to much of Mayhem Lettuce’s output, and this album in particular. Eberhardt and Saathoff have long reveled in whimsy and an almost willful absurdity, but there’s a certain honesty and grace to this album that is quite inviting. Of course, some may still have difficulty laughing along with the band… their loss.
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