Absorbed at any volume, You Won’t Get What You Want the latest LP release by Providence, Rhode Island’s, Daughters, a once dormant fusion of math, punk and grindcore, is an eviscerating listening experience.
After repeated listens, I can only say the record’s sound amounts to what feels like a slow brewing personality crisis. On “Long Road, No Turns” the tempo is a heavy with a grinding undulation and shouted lyrics. It’s clear right away that Alexis S.F. Marshall’s vocals aren’t as important as his tone, harried and non-compliant. He’s a performance artist, not unlike the Jesus Lizard’s, David Yow.
“Satan In The Wait” builds on heavy-bottomed percussion and never really seems to drive over the manic edge that it threatens. Instead, Marshall calls out from his bad dream over the keyboards, which on this track are some of the lightest on the record, creating a toxic swirl of eye-gouging vividness.
This is the first Daughters record in quite a while, since 2010’s self-titled release on Hydra Head Records. At that time, Marshall described the sound of that record as being written and recorded as a way of experimenting with audience response.
Or, in other words, what stands as the band’s most accessible record was masterminded as a provocation.
Eight years later, listening to this abrasive calculation, that need to jab a finger in the audience’s most vulnerable wound seems just as prevalent as before. Everything on the record is technically sound, and the tortured production really drags out the measured bursts of menace.
On “Less Sex,” the brooding tempo and shrill synthesizer melodies set to life a raw, under-the-skin aggravation with a simmering, drugged out vocal on the song’s underbelly. On the math rock influenced, “The Reason They Hate Me,” Marshall’s vocals are a riot. The album’s longest track, “Ocean Song” opens with round, bouncing bass and rapping vocals, only to break into a Defcon five alarm and a series of awful, pained wails that only seldom does Marshall elevate to places of comprehension.
What is he singing about? The inability to cope, to get by, to understand. The overall sound on this album is less about forging a symphony in the darkness than it is a bleak hearted cry for help rising from the fetid, malignant mass that plagues the modern age.