Self loathing had never sounded as good as it did when the “worst named band in the country” Crywank dropped Tomorrow Is Nearly Yesterday And Everyday Is Stupid back in 2013, an album that manifested all the existentialism and pessimistic thoughts that run rampant in James Clayyon’s mind which had fueled most of the act’s work since the therapeutic beginnings of their aptly named debut James Is Going To Die Soon. This same constant questioning of himself seems to have carried onto Crywank’s first studio album Don’t Piss On Me, I’m Already Dead which seems to bare the brunt of Clayton’s personal struggle, mostly in regards of taking his music more serious and giving back to the fans. In his own words:
I’m super paranoid, I keep telling myself that I’m surely going to die before I release this album and every time I feel a weird twitch in my body or my heart feels bizarre the first thought that jumps into my head is “oh shit I’m going to die in a few moments and I still haven’t put out this album or even considered how it will be put out”.
Due to this and Clayton not wanting to do any PR for the release, Don’t Piss On Me…kind of crept out of nowhere, only to be announced a week prior to it hitting the shelves of Bandcamp which isn’t a strange move considering the barrage of “surprise” drops from the likes of Radiohead and Beyonce. Crywank have always had more in common with the former however and it seems like their first studio album hasn’t had any impact on the band’s integrity as the masterful cynical lyricism and simple yet soothing instrumentals are in abundance to make this one of the best sleeper hits of 2016.
Take for instance I Am In Great Pain, Please Help Me (wubba lubba dub dub!) which features one of the most attention grabbing performances on display here with some frantic playing packaged alongside some sparingly placed drums and distraught, borderline depressed lines that results in a deeply introspective, albeit uncomfortable listen. This same kind of personal lyricism is followed up on the the following track Love where Crywank seem to channel their inner Bon Iver albeit a bit more crass, managing to display a sense of resentment that only becomes more twisted and heartbreaking as the track progresses.
There’s a sense of bizarreness that runs through the vast majority of these tracks, if not through their instrumentals then through their words, such as the aforementioned I Am In Great Pain’s closing line “sometimes I wish I was a goat” or the penultimate track Baby Self Absorbed where we get a blink or you’ll miss it display of genuine optimism which is as rare as a four leaf clover on an album like this. There are jolts of surprise hidden within this record and none of them hit quite as hard as they do on closing track Falling Down A Hole which is a welcome change to the tranquil nature of most of the tracks that precede it with an aggressive vocal performance frothing from the mouth with angst and frustration,
At 12 tracks long, Don’t Piss On Me feels a lot more polished and cohesive despite the limitations Crywank endured which ranged from financial troubles to logistic ones. Instead of giving up on this project when times got tough, the band manage to assemble what is essentially a love letter to fans with the staple qualities that have keep the connection between the two of them so strong. It feels delightfully fresh at points, especially on the latter half of the record, but it does enough “old school” Crywank to make listeners feel at home. The move to the studio hasn’t hindered the quality of their music and knowing what they are capable of, it’s rather ironic to feel optimistic about the band’s future prospects.
-Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)