reviewed by Michael Thomas
Kye Plant includes just enough description of their albums to contextualize the music. Laura noted the themes of trying to get stronger in her review of Plant’s After the Hospital, and this time Plant says the album is inspired by absurdism, nihilism, “why am I alive?” and drugs and several more things.
It’s a lot to take in right off the bat. There are hints of many of the aforementioned “inspirations” along the way, and once again Plant uses lo-fi pop to back their music. The rawness of the sound really matches their emotions throughout, sounding gritty and pointed with their more angry lyrics and getting more cavernous and psychedelic for their more inquisitive lines.
The first introduction to the EP, however, is all instrumental. “Electric Ugly” is a series of heavenly-sounding synth lines. As we move into the songs with lyrics, things start to become a bit more clear. If the title “Fuck My Life” wasn’t enough of a hint, Plant is not in a good place. “Buried under wasted dreams” are the first words out of their mouth, and the chorus of the song has them singing “I was born to fall to pieces/Fuck my life, I’m wasting away.” But there’s a bit of hope around the corner, as Plant later notes, “It’s not too late to start over.”
Hope shines through in “Alone Again,” which returns to backing sounds similar to the opening song. Plant realizes they thought everyone in the world hated them, but eventually realizes that’s wrong. Towards the end of the song, Plant’s phrasings become more like shouts as they sing “Fuck the feelings, fight the fever, take the power back.” In “A Family” Plant is still dealing with mental illness and has a lot of anger directed, presumably, at family members. “Step on a landmine, and call ourselves a family,” Plant sings.
But all of this is just lead-up to the absolutely devastating “Second Attempt.” You can guess what this “attempt” is referring to, and there’s no way to ignore it. The music is much more spare, with a slow-tempo drum machine and whirls of synth backing the much wordier song. “Blood brothers to the bitter end but today, I feel nothing,” Plant sings to begin the song. As Plant describes specific images from the suicide attempt, the song becomes tremendously upsetting. As if in acknowledgement of the horrific nature of the song, the last five minutes of the ten-minute song is all instrumental; just synths carry you to the end.
Nothing ever gets 100 percent better, but Kye Plant can find at least a little hope even in the bleakest situations.
Top Track: “Second Attempt”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)