💽 Heady Metal by Divorce

💽 Heady Metal by Divorce

Well, we made it through another week (barely)...

I'm already hard at work on what this newsletter can become in the next season (on Jan 8th). You can see some of the new design and banners I'm playing around with in this issue, but there is definitely more to come on that front including a third contributor joining that I'm extremely excited about, but we will talk more about that in the new year.

I consider myself pretty great at finding lesser known bands, but Will takes it to a whole different level. Both the EP and his review below are superb and more than worth your time to check out this weekend.

So as promised, here is another issue of Willful Listening from our excellent music and arts critic, Will Kaplan.

banner image for willful listening

Like Emily Dickinson’s clipped stanzas, the band Divorce fits a decade’s worth of mixed emotion into a tightly packaged 23 minute EP titled Heady Metal. These six twee chamber rock songs encompass growing pains of the messy 20-somethings with quirky, lovable melodies, and exciting, unpredictable compositions.

Using complex, infectious arrangements this Nottingham quartet unspool the morning-after mix of resolve and regret. The EP may begin with Sex and the Millennium Bridge,” but Divorce are quick to deflate the romance of impulse and youth. Instead they evoke dissociation and looming consequences:

As if that's the impulse I succumb to

Sealing my fate with a turn of the wrist

Pushing through the hours and feeling nothing.

Bassist Tiger Cohen-Towell and guitarist Felix Mackenzie-Barrow share the microphone, in a clear voiced female-male cabaret. It sounds at times theatrical, conversational, or like the conversations we have in our head. Drummer Kasper Sandstrom slides in and out of time with the verses, letting the singers cram final thoughts into frantic measures before a song explodes rapturously from Adam Peter-Smith’s cathedral sized guitar.

Together it sounds like some of the best hallmark millennial indie: Arcade Fire’s baroque rock; the racing thoughts and rhythms of Modest Mouse; and Fiona Apple’s vaudeville flair. Those artists run the spectrum of sincere to sarcastic, but Divorce place themselves firmly in the present by encapsulating both poles, simultaneously earnest and eye-rolling. For anyone in their 20’s in the 2020’s, these are anthems of dejected resilience, totems of encouragement, and glowing warmth in a cold world.

Will Kaplan

Writing artist based in Queens, NYC


album cover for heady metal by divorce with the band sitting on the floor surrounded by dogs

See you on Jan 8th!