The title of Dorothea Paas’ previous EP Calm Your Body Down felt like it was subverting the useless counsel to “calm down” with Paas’ songs reminding us that our anxieties are real and valid. Paas’ latest release No Loose Ends feels like it too is a fuck off to the useless advice. This time: the idea that tying up loose ends is as easy and conclusive as tying an actual knot.
The rawness of Paas’ music is painful. This weariness is akin to the morning after a night of drinking where you fell on the sidewalk in front of your crush and scraped your knees. The combination of your head, embarrassment, and raw flesh creates a dull ache that’s subtle but unshakable for a long time. Like the t-shirt’s sweet scent in “Lavender” or the memory in “Untitled 2”.
On the rest of the EP, Paas tells us that healing takes time and becoming a new and better person is a continual process. In the lethargic “Soon” Paas cries, “When I am with you I forget my body is falling apart” but by song’s end she concludes, “soon it will not matter.” I want to believe the song is about escaping a toxic relationship and finding peace with oneself but I’m not so sure.
Though clouded by anxieties, standouts “Make Sure” and “Meant 2” are the clearest expressions of hope and love. In the former, Paas battles a sour sounding guitar riff to in an effort to be more positive and not so self-deprecating: “But one false move will not ruin everything. Remember that.”
In the latter, a shaky pop track, Paas struggles with all of the things she meant to do (“write it all out,” “keep track,” “call her up”) but hasn’t gotten around to yet. In response though she says, “Trust me” and ends the song with an affirmation: “Breathing is the best I can do. I have to breathe more these days.” Each breath helps her grow and become the best version of herself.
And that’s all we can do. Keep breathing.
Top Tracks: “Meant 2”; “Make Sure”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)