A shining ode to the pain of love
Bachelor, the joint project from artists Palehound and Jay Som, shows a powerful connection between the two bands. The chemistry of the two artists blends spectacularly with one another to give an otherworldly sound to rock music in their debut album Doomin’ Sun. With a dream-pop sensibility and ’90s rock progressions, the album places itself as a shining amalgamation of the two. Truly, the strengths of Palehound and Jay Som are at the fore.
“Back Of My Hand” is a strongly produced track, with roaring bass in the chorus to the electronic keyboard elements, there are various textures of the song that make it complex. However, owing to previous experience between the two artists, the lyrics are where the song shines. With references to a show, hoping that “from the nosebleeds [they] heard [her],” Bachelor creates a strong narrative with its haunting vocal performances. It succeeds in its portrayal of longing, feeling inadequate in the face of others. Comparing themselves to the woman with a “jaw size zero,” the vocalists reiterate a dynamic in which they are only on the fore, not able to be reached.
The harmonies are especially prevalent within “Stay in the Car,” where they intertwine into the narrative of a woman who is in a car with her boyfriend. In the romanticized pick-up truck, there is a fantasy of knowing her. The comparison of “being an ice cream in the sun” is a sharp, apt metaphor on the idea of expendability that can be traced throughout the record. The instrumentals back up the verses in a loud manner. While sometimes it can drown out the chorus, the moments do not overshadow the pure magnetism of the song, Bachelor exclaiming their compelling desire to know this unnamed stranger.
“Went Out Without You” is a highlight. With its stripped instrumentals and percussive interruptions, the narrator states that she has never felt a love as strong, slipping into how it would feel to have a lover that does not care about them at all. Distorted, muted instrumentals act as radio static underneath the verses, slowly growing in intensity. As the song progresses, the story of their love becomes a walking on eggshells where there is no will to portray themselves authentically to their partner. It acts almost like a dream where there is a feeling of self-degradement that is profoundly relatable despite its painful implications that many convince themselves of love to people who see them as expendable.
In the latter half of the record, the strength of each song is consistently maintained. The single “Sick of Spiraling” has a painful sense of paranoia. The narrator describes the present fear around her. With a percussion-heavy track, the sound seems like almost a biting criticism of the toxicity of their relationship. Warping the idea of taking care of oneself before caring for one’s partner in the second verse, a loud instrumental break interjects, as if mimicking the spiraling in which is taking place. The call-and-response nature of the song truly highlights their instrumental skill.
The titular track, “Doomin’ Sun,” begins with a more cheery outlook with its acoustic work. Describing giving their bodies to “birds and bees,” images of death warp the idea of the intimate act referenced. Wordplay is what brings a perfect encapsulation of the combined talents of the album. With the radio-like vocal recordings overlapping one another and the bittersweet conclusion that they “have time” with their lover holding them, a cinematic instrumental work takes over in the last part of the song before it ends with an auditory allusion to a record skipping. Perhaps reflecting the sense of expendable love present on the record, Bachelor provides a beautiful narrative with powerful lyricism, haunting the listener with their soft, drawn-out vocal performances in Doomin’ Sun.