|Laundry Day members Sam Carlson, Jared Thompson, Kuki Kooks, and Alex Burnet. Monica Bunton Photo.|
There’s a disarming silence at the beginning of “Five Pack,” the first track off Laundry Day’s new EP It Kinda Sucks. Guitar hums, almost fuzzy below the track. Glass breaks. Nothing moves fast for exactly two seconds. Then reverb drenches the room. A drumbeat and harsh, rollicking guitar roll out. Alex Burnet’s voice comes in, mellow and raw at the same time.
You are gone, I’m glad you’re gone
Got your hair out of the drain
Since you left I’m less insane
Got you moved on out my brain
I am free
I am free
“Five Pack” sets the tone for It Kinda Sucks, the latest and most emotionally dark EP from Laundry Day members Alex Burnet, Kuki Kooks, Jared Thompson, and Sam Carlson. The EP drops this Wednesday, Nov. 28, with a release party and show at The State House also featuring artists Old Self and The Write Offs. Tickets and more information here.
From the beginning, It Kinda Sucks relies on a tight, fully jammable sensibility, like someone has locked band members n a closet until they’ve realized they really like each other. In the EP’s second track “Yung Children,” a catchy, bare-bones hook kicks off the track, easing listeners in as it blooms into echo and reverb. Burnet and Thompson come around in at the same time, the former’s voice unpretentious and unvarnished. You can almost see him alone in his home, getting over the loss of someone or something that’s going to take a long time to heal.
I lay in bed and watch TV
I saw daylight fading from across the room
I’m just a hookworm
He’s full of self-deprecation, and the band runs with it. The track is easy, almost loping until it gets to the hook—It’s alright, It’s okayyyyyy—fuzz and rock oozing over the edges of everything Burnet reaches for. Just a little after two minutes in, there’s another surprise, guitar and tambourine sounds opening a break in the action, a suggestion that maybe this could end a totally different way.
|Laundry Day Photo.|
The EP came together more quickly than the band’s previous releases, finished in under two months. In an interview last week, Burnet estimated that the group spent almost two years working on last year’s It’s Cool It’s Whatever, winnowing down material that had already been written and leaving a lot of it on the cutting room floor. This time, band members came together with material and built music together. In the midst of starting his own new music venture, Carlson mixed and recorded the whole thing.
“This time around, it was like ‘go,’” Burnet said. “The record’s out. Go. We need more songs. We need more music. You want to be a functioning band—nine-tenths of that is putting out music.”
For the EP, the band didn’t write in the studio. Instead, they wrote pieces when they got together—the band tries to practice at least once a week, despite members’ busy schedules—and tracked them live. As the four played, revised, and reworked the three pieces into being, Burnet said they discovered a way of working that was more collaborative and spontaneous than it had been before. That’s what happened with “Five Pack”—Burnet approached the group about wanting to do a song based on two chords, and they helped build a soundscape around the idea.
Or with certain sounds. As Thompson, the band’s newest member, thought about the aural impression he wanted to be making on the EP—he’s a drummer, as are Carlson and Kooks—he proposed something that channeled drummer Steve Albini. Carlson worked with him until they’d gotten exactly what they wanted.
“I’m glad that we have something else on the way out,” Carlson said. “It was a lot of fun doing it. I think it was the fastest and easiest recording experience I’ve ever had.”
The brilliance of It Kind Of Sucks is its melding of poppy, sometimes euphoric riffs with lyrics that are anything but. In “Pace,” the EP’s final track, the band is initially sunny and danceable, a sharp contrast with Burnet as he spills his exhaustion all over the vocals. At first, it seems like this could be a harder-edged Moldy Peaches, still sweet and a tiny bit bouncy despite real, palpable pain that one band member is going through.
But Burnet, as he does on “Five Pack,” has a gift for finding the rough and raw edges of his voice. The band follows him there, breaking into a deep rock riff that leaves the listener feeling like they are swirling at the bottom of a dark, gravelly pit. The music dissolves into something more mellow, that feels like an ending. At least for now.
“It’s just a lot of raw emotion, lyrically, aesthetically,” Burnet said. “It’s processing depression, I guess. It’s the best thing I could offer as a roadmap to getting somewhere happier, dealing with anger and self-loathing sometimes. That was totally not what I wanted to write about, but it’s what came out of me. And I’m glad it came out of me.”