Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Will Kreinke, Mastered by Sam Patlove
A Luyas song packs us into a scene that feels as if it's snowed in, trapped in a blizzard that refuses to let up. Everyone stuck in the house is anxious to get out of doors, to start shoveling themselves out and back to normality. It's as if they've been caught in the elements, kept by the storm and those factors that are beyond their control, and before long, everyone starts talking about things that they weren't expecting to talk about. They begin to purge and everyone's cast in a different light, showing themselves to be worried about a lot of different things - many that others and sometimes they themselves couldn't have imagined that they would have been worried about. It's all there though, festering and emerging out of the cold, from the unspoken to the eloquently uttered, whispered. Jessie Stein writes as if she's folded out into a person who's existing as a phantom, as someone working offline, out-of-body. It's as if she's able to observe herself in a way that's completely detached from any bias and based solely on what's really there and what's really, truly brewing. It's all so frighteningly candid and unadjusted. Everything is tendered and none of the droppings are swept up. It's all there, laid out from us to hear and experience, like a home that's been run away from in the middle of the night with the warmth of footsteps still hot on the floor, handprints still sticky on the doorknobs, dinner still cooking in the kitchen and the indentation from the tip of a pressed pen into a note b the phone, still working its way out of the piece of paper below it. There's a lot of evidence to be taken in and there are all sorts of fascinating details that can be chewed upon. "I Need Mirrors," from the Montreal group's latest and finest work to date, "Too Beautiful To Work," is most revealing, giving a description of the main character that is brutally honest and cutting, with Stein singing, "Sometimes I feel a lot like someone too my head away/Scooped me out and left me splayed/Staring at the walls/I pay for them every month so why in fuck's name shouldn't I?/It's not so bad I have tried to tell you something plain inside/Something's keeping me alive/I can't think to let me die/It's funny in a way/Like working at a bank." She seems as mixed up at other times on the record - wanting and headless, disillusioned and searching - and it grips her in a possessive way. There seems to be a very personal, familial death in the title track - also the first song on the album - and it lends color to many of the songs, a preface that explains where her head is throughout the writing process, throughout a tumultuous need to figure out what the hell anything's about now - if not this or that, then what, we her asked again and again. She's reeling some and the music finds itself flashing a dusky haunting to everything as she reminds herself on "Worth Mentioning," "Trust me now and keep in mind/There are no ungraced thoughts," telling herself that all of this matters, all of it feels, hurts and soothes for a reason.