You Won’t Get What You Want begins with a dread riff that goes on for eternity before the startling blast of a snare rings out like a bullet. The pattern repeats even while the mix devolves, rolling out a black carpet for Alexis Marshall’s most devastated iteration of vocal work. “This city is an empty glass,” he moans, over the lightbulb-break of tubes and strings and electronic manipulation, as he elaborates with his own expectorations of what could either be pain or ecstasy; in this world the Rhode Island quartet have spent years cultivating, the existence of sensation in music is one simultaneously orgasmic and excruciating.
This plays out in the topsy-turvy dolorousness of rhythm, tone, and percussion, an aberrant stimulation of sensation. And at the last moment, perhaps in a nod to the ending of “Fiery” off of their 2006 album Hell Songs, everything is set aside for his final words at the song’s end, a lone monologue among the dark interior they have established. So begins Daughters’ fifth and most anticipated album.
What follows is a record that is as important and as different from their previous albums that a band like only Daughters could conceive. As the next two singles that follow demonstrated when they were released earlier this year, they have achieved new heights in their vision of eerie melancholy, disconsolate ruin, and apostate melody. The battle-ready march of “Long Road No Turns” and the horror-pop by way of Bowie’s “Chinatown” on Satan In The Wait clearly show the strength of musicians who have delved into the gnarly experimentation tempered by heavy sensibility.
This song is “The Reason They Hate Me”. Period.
In looking at the breadth of material and variety on display, it is a testament to the diligence and care of guitarist Nicholas Sadler and the rhythm section comprised of Jon Syverson and Sam Walker. Both Sadler and Marshall advised they were pleased with the minimalist result on “Satan In The Wait” in particular. Even more revealing was Alexis’ statement that he had tried to approach the lyrics with Killing Joke as inspiration. It is perhaps this aspect that most potently informs an understanding of the rest of the album: This is not hardcore. It is not metal. Not mathcore, or noise rock, or any other insubstantial attempt at genre. It is horror.
This pervades throughout the rest of the album, with growing, chimerical success. On “Less Sex”, we are treated to Daughters informed more directly by an ‘80s gothic/electronic sensibility, one that achieves this while unseating any safety the listener may have thought they had left. “Daughter” does this with more jazz while somehow sounding more like previous iterations of their sound. It’s a bewildering experience, seeing the result of experimentation run rampant, spiking the vein with new heights and depths, new sensations and experiences, challenging the listener ever more.
But unlike “challenging” albums, this is dark molasses that demands consumption, a syrupy saccharine concoction that sermonizes on the sinister crevasse of the psyche. By the time one emerges from the closing hive buzz of “Ocean Song”, the listener is tossed once again into the storm with closer “Guest House”. It is a brutal, pounding, relentless hammering of fists into the soft, fleshy viscera of eardrums, reminiscent of Arab On Radar and Jesus Lizard, swelling with horns into a crescendo that drifts into a bitter heaven.
Life. “Long Road, No Turns”. Get driving.
This record is a triumph from a band that refused to give up. Instead they showed grit and continued moving on when life had been so tirelessly meddling in their writing process. Only through dedication, persistence, and a magical quality that the group have fortified, has this landmark managed to make its way into reality. Let your body tremble at the wake.
You Won’t Get What You Want Track Listing:
01. City Song
02. Long Road No Turns
03. Satan In The Wait
04. The Flammable Man
05. The Lords Song
06. Less Sex
08. The Reason They Hate Me
09. Ocean Song
10. Guest House
Run Time: 48:37 Release Date: October 26, 2018 Record Label: Ipecac Recordings