Summer Cannibals’ latest album, out now on Tiny Engines, features stripped down, streamlined production. At many points, it’s serene and coasting. Albums like this one are susceptible to turning stale and lackluster, but Can’t Tell Me No remains captivating. The tracks are crisp and sharp, with captivating riffs and suave vocals.
It’s fitting, really, that the focus is shifted away from instrumentals, given how much weight the lyrics hold; they deserve the listener’s undivided attention. This album contains crucial messages on empowerment, strength and resilience. When they announced this album’s release, the band tweeted that it was the end result of trauma and unforeseen circumstances.
“False Anthem” slams disingenuousness. In it, frontperson Jessica Boudreaux declares, “You say you hate what they do / But you love all the things that they promise you.” On “Behave,” she refuses to mold herself to appease others (“stop telling me to change.”)
“Like I Used To” arguably cuts the deepest. The opening line is about crying over someone. The track centers on the relief of leaving a toxic relationship. In the chorus, Boudreaux expresses joy over the way her life changed, declaring “I don’t fight like I used to / I don’t pray like I used to / Without you, I don’t need to.”
Summer Cannibals effectively used an unfortunate situation to create something influential.