Water From Your Eyes have earned a reputation for trolling by clashing dumb irony up alongside genuine sincerity and musically shifting between beauty and chaos at breakneck pace. Turning on their track record, Everyone’s Crushed, their first album for Matador, sees them transform delicate synths into industrial interruption and aggressive riffs into elegant hooks, in understated fashion.
Similarly to their post-pop internet contemporaries, they take all of music’s canon at face value, disregarding snobbish critics, and fashion it into something innovative. While Jockstrap will pack songs with ideas, and 100 Gecs can pursue the joke over anything else, Rachel Brown and Nate Amos dial back to a more accessible balance. ‘True Life’ references an actual battle with Neil Young’s lawyer, but not to the extent that it overwhelms its glut of scuzzy, addictive melodies.
Where 2010s acts to whom lazy journalists might compare this group (Sleigh Bells, Dirty Projectors) spent their time adorning and complicating in the search for something novel, Water From Your Eyes instead dismantle and reassemble everything they’ve absorbed after a lifetime on the internet, and perhaps explain it best themselves on standout ‘14’: “I traced what I erased”. Gorgeous strings are looped into a rare emotional respite from the havoc elsewhere, and Brown’s vocals are genuinely affecting even while invoking vomit.
‘Out There’ is another beguiling highlight – a phone-alarm synth regularly interrupting a kinetic and aggressive bass-drum groove – and captures the best of the album. Thankfully, Everyone’s Crushed isn’t pissing anyone off despite any trollish intention. It’s honest, smart, refined – and simply excellent.
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