“I’m a major let down,” I Was Totally Destroying It’s Rachel Hirsh sings with sugary confusion on “My Internal Din,” the band’s newly released single. “I don’t know what went wrong.”
That makes two of us. The song (streaming over at Alternative Press) is the first offering from the Chapel Hill outfit’s forthcoming fourth LP, Vexations. It marks a new low point in a stunning and frustrating decline for what was, until recently, one of the Triangle’s very best pop-rock outfits. If the single is par for the course, it’s likely the title will be quite accurate.
The Alternative Press write-up christens IWTDI as “electrorockers,” and the synthetic side of the band shows through here more than ever before. A simplistic and abrasive synthesizer loop opens the song as Hirsh describes the noise in her head as “pots and pans in stereo.” Honestly, that would be better than what we get here. Riffs chug sleepily, picking up the simple beat. The drums are simpler still and pushed so far back in the mix that the song barely has a pulse. Hirsh, once a dynamic singer uniting visceral punk emotion with a fetching pop sweetness, takes no such risks here, settling for a lifeless bubblegum coo.
What happened? A few years ago this group was a live wire, uniting kinetic indie rock riffs a la Superchunk with cutting, hyper-catchy synth lines. James Hepler was a beast behind the kit, imbuing their fetching pop with a tectonic heft few of their peers could match. Last year’s Preludes was worse, but never this bad. At least its whitewashed stadium pop managed to be likable even if it was rarely memorable.
Vexations is due via Portland’s Greyday Records on Aug. 21, which gives you six months to ponder this song’s scant rewards. Album art and tracklist are below.
2. Hello, Salty Ghost
3. Follow You
4. The Prisoner
5. Move So Slowly
6. My Internal Din
7. Save Your Life
8. Dust Up / New Perpetuum Mobile
9. Blood On Film
10. Give Them What They Want
11. Outside Blinds
12. Seasonal Low