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Everything is recorded in the red, as dynamic noise rock should be. The advances of Beth Rettig and her outfit Where We Sleep have come to fruition, and the promise has been fulfilled in The Scars They Leave. This is a long-player that simply bursts with energy, and drags you into a caustic world. Every inch of it vibrates as if a musical supernova explodes across the album’s nine tracks. Truthfully it has been a few years coming, and with Ep’s such as the excellent Experments In The Dark (2019), Where We Sleep have set a course and have thrown off their infancy with style.
Miss Rettig has her creative needle firmly planted into the desire of an incoming fanbase. From the opening “Drive” the colossal sound is immediately prevalent. With the flair of Debbie Smith adding guitars, the track is captivating, and it is tethering on full blown shoegaze. The vocals of Beth are as impactful as the sound, and the drama packed emotion sets a healthy beginning. No stone is left unturned or excuse taken, the woman is simply on a mission, this continues into “Broken Things”. An industrial vibe begins as the sound becomes more restrained, and vocals flow menacingly across a distorted bass, of course when the chorus kicks so does the lifting sound. The delightful density of “Ash and Bone” has an air of early PJ Harvey, of course that shifts as the originality of the outfit fires up a storm.
We do get moments of reflection, and not just assault. The drained atmospheric “Morning Song” is a moment to surface, and is designed to enhance every feeling. “Everybody Leaves a Mark” is an expression of pain, and the experience of the darkness in life. Lyrically, it is a transcendent piece of music, and life versus nature is consumed in every syllable. Which, contradicts the sneering “Lullabye” that follows and gets the feedback distortion back into the equation. Though the minimalist “This Way” proves a point that not every song needs an eruption to make an impact. It is actually quite addictive, and the production keeps all the right characteristics in the right places. “Missing Something”, again with Debbie Smith lending muscle, is dreamy, and it stutters along with a slow burning motion.
As the album closes out, “Patience”, the longest track, is the most unsettling. Not in any unsavoury way but the lyrics – “you try to outrun what’s inside of you” are so honest, in some ways naked. The repeated lines act as a mantra that aids an examination of fractured dreams and hopelessness. All-in-all The Scars They Leave is a powerful piece of work, the nature of the emotions on display against the sound makes for an enchanting listen. In many ways you feel that Beth Rettig is fearless in the way she put so much of herself into every inch of the album, and for that both the lady and the work itself should be respected.
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