reviewed by Kaitlin Ruether
Breakups are a common source of musical inspiration. Heartbreak is a powerful thing, an emotional, stirred up, gotta-express-it sort of mentality that has, through history, led to some great music. Right now, some of the most popular and come-to-mind breakup tracks feature crooners and pop artists who create sweeping extra-produced odes to complex emotion: but what if that’s not what you want? What if you need something raw? At the end of the day, a broken heart transitions between a range of emotion: regret, rage, yearning, acceptance. This is what Vancouver-based trio alimony brings to the table with their debut demo.
Explaining their sound as punk and cuddlecore, alimony features Juls and Leila’s layered Kathleen Hanna-esque soprano vocals brought to power by emotion that pushes into volume (“love me anymore” is an example). “atropros of nothing” features spit-fire vocals and a catchy pop hook. “I’m ready to move on,” vocalist/bassist Juls sings, and it’s easy to believe amidst the bouncy guitar. This bubblegum juxtaposition is also found on “put that phone down” — another song about moving on.
The punk designation is never forgotten through the demo. “sick heart”’s heavy electric guitar intro, foundation of Jill’s weighty drums, and central bass gives way to a chorus that spirals lower, deeper, and satisfies. As a rule, it seems that when alimony looks towards the future the songs have a lighter touch, while those rooted in the past are angry and solid. The album ends with “pull the plug”, another low register, heavy guitar strokes track that pleads, “pull the plug, pull the plug on ending me and you.”
Exploring the complexity of the end of a relationship is one of alimony’s strengths on the demo, but the quick shifts in motivation become almost dizzying — a little too real. In “put the phone down”, the lyrics encourage someone to move onwards, but in the very next song “pull the plug”, the singer falls back into requesting the return of a lost love. As the well paced (and placed) bubbly album opener “TGIF” pre-observes, “It’s always take two steps backwards, when I take one step forward” — so too moves this demo.
alimony have, at the time of publishing, a limited internet presence. This is their first demo as a team, and their sound is coherent. It’s personal pain made angry and given a dose of fun and danceability. As a group taking big emotion and running with it, alimony have been successful. It’s exciting to see how they will channel this energy next.
Top Track: “TGIF”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)