Short, sweet tracks sharing nostalgic despair
Laura Jane Grace is an artist of many undeniably natural talents. In addition to her powerful songwriting for punk band Against Me!, she wrote Tranny in 2016, a memoir that captures her experience as a transgender musician. On September 22nd, she continued to share her talents in her latest EP, At War With The Silverfish.
The seven-track EP is generally short and sweet—each song is about two minutes long—but it still sufficiently presents a story of nostalgia and regret. This folk-punk EP opens with “Three of Hearts,” which sets the scene with the narrator who feels worthless; with two broken hearts and one of gold, they are scornfully in love and hopelessly forgiving.
In “Lolo 13,” listeners begin to see the longing for a past romance. With a quick stomp-like percussion behind the acoustic tale of “searching for a girl in the city,” this song provides the soundtrack for a coming-of-age adventure. Though all adventures must come to an end, and in “Long Dark Night,” these lovebirds reminisce on their time together before saying goodbye. Yet, the ‘80s synth and soda-shop beat behind Grace’s lo-fi voice suggest more mischief than melancholy.
In the mellow “Electro-Static Sweep,” however, the sadness begins to settle in. The artist’s distant, slowed-down voice places the listener in a late-night haze, and it feels as though years have passed as she longs to “talk about what it was like when we were young.” She continues to go about the banal parts of life, though, as seen in the struggles involved in the routine of “Day Old Coffee.” In the shortest song of the EP, people see how the memories of the past even consume the quick tasks of the everyday.
“Smug FuckFace” presents the most regret on the album: the despondent narrator desperately misses what they had in the past but is even more so worried about never achieving that feeling again. In the following “Yesterday Pt. II,” though, she contradicts—or perhaps responds to—this despair, claiming that the joy of the past feels as though it were only, well, yesterday.
This EP follows Grace’s first album as a solo artist, Stay Alive. This past June, she performed one song from this album, “Swimming Pool Song,” as part of Rolling Stone’s “In My Room” video series. By August, she was performing with Brendan Kelly at Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Even this past September, she kicked off Audible’s “Word + Music” series with her story “Black Me Out.” Laura Jane Grace has an aptitude for sharing these deeply personal and still relatable stories, and At War With The Silverfish finds the balance between experiences that are heartbreaking and universal.