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Daughters adventures through abstract, nihilistic soundscapes on ‘You Won’t Get What You Want’

| Monday, November 12, 2018

Joseph Han

Up until the release of “You Won’t Get What You Want,” the Rhode Island band Daughters had been somewhat removed from the music scene. Their last release came in 2010 with the self-titled album “Daughters,” and the album preceding that was released in 2006. More often than not, when bands take long hiatuses between two different projects, one of two things can happen: the new record sounds like a carbon copy of prior work, recycling past successes in songwriting; or, the new record breaks ground sonically and is a complete departure from their previous work.

With “You Won’t Get What You Want,” the latter holds true, with the album standing out against the band’s previous work. With the runtime of this album totaling 49 minutes over 10 tracks, the album itself is an experiment in length when compared to the band’s first three albums, which ran for 28, 23 and 11 minutes respectively. As a result, Daughters takes time to flush out soundscapes and concepts that are repressive, cold and oftentimes void of emotion. Yes, the noise rock found on their previous albums still exists to some degree, but this time, the noise seems strung out, conceptualized in a way that achieves an ultimately glacial, nihilistic sound.

One thing that distinguishes this record is the haunting delivery of lead vocalist Alexis S. F. Marshall. The delivery on this album tends to deviate between a more traditional noise rock yell and a style akin to spoken word poetry. The unique deliveries are saved for the more feverous and more sparse parts of the album respectively, and both reinforce the mood that the instrumentals successfully set. This is seen best in the stark contrast between the dark, feedback-ridden first track “City Song” and the fast-tempo, screeching mess — in the best sense — of “Long Roads, No Turns.” On the latter song, the listener is exposed to five minutes of droning guitar and drums that are, for lack of a better description, incredibly dizzying. Marshall, in his droning, half lyrical, half spoken-word tone, sings, “Everybody climbs up high then falls real far/ And I don’t know what to say / I don’t know what to say / I don’t know what to say when people come apart.” The listening experience of this track, and the entire album generally, feels like a descent into a deep, dark pit with no bottom to be seen.

The crescendos on this album seem to last for the entirety of tracks, with most songs either maintaining or building upon the intensity set from their first few seconds. The song “Less Sex” serves as a moment of pause in the chaos, and the listener has a moment to catch their breath before being plunged into the depths of the next track “Daughter,” a track that still possesses some of the most haunting moments of the album, with Bauhaus-esque drums, frantic guitar patterns and intense vocals. Ultimately, Daughters does not disappoint on their fourth album, delivering a project that will surely vie for album of the year recognition come the end of the year.

  • Artist: Daughters
  • Album: You Won’t Get What You Want
  • Label: Ipecac Recordings
  • Favorite Tracks: “The Reason They Hate Me,” “Ocean Song,” “Long Road, No Turns”
  • If you like: Sonic Youth, Protomartyr, Death Grips
  • Shamrocks: 4.5 out of 5
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