Full of melodies and winding instrumentals, Equipment pack a ton of musical variety into their latest release, Ruthless Sun. The Ohio mainstay take care in the details of every track, adding a variety of layers to keep songs flowing. Their prowess in finding interesting pathways to guide their writing is fantastically displayed, and one of the consistent highlights of this 10 track record. The trio take the sounds of a dizzyingly hot summer and sling it into one hell of a hazy power punk pop sound.
With such a glowing release, New Noise Magazine is pleased to have Equipment discuss each song on their recent release, Ruthless Sun, which was distributed via Chatterbot Records on June 15th.
I’d say this song sort of serves as an overture to the record — maybe even a synopsis. I wanted to write something that eases the listener into the sound and concepts of the other songs while also standing on its own, and I think this track does that pretty well. I mention how easy it is for many of us to lose focus on ourselves and instead try to find crevices in other people’s lives to fit into, something I’ve always been guilty of doing. Instrumentally, our old stuff pretty much had the standard fare of guitars and occasional synth, so it was fun bringing in a few new instruments like the piano and the chord organ.
This isn’t so much a break-up song as much as it is break-up word-vomit. There’s no real lyrical refrain, so what you get here is a lot of stream-of-consciousness whiplash. I’m pretty sure I wrote all the lyrics to this song in an hour. The track kind of explodes at the end, and the narrator realizes that being alone makes it impossible to shift the blame elsewhere for your own issues.
This song tackles a bunch of ugly topics: budding alcoholism, emotional abuse, and longing for an old friendship that has since turned from wholesome to toxic. It’s hard growing up and realizing that someone you had great times with is not a good person. It’s a rather specific situation, but one that I feel many may relate to.
“Downward Slant” is the product of me surrounding myself with people that are laughably more productive than me. Imagine waking up on dorm room floors of a different college every other weekend to the residents getting ready for work, doing homework, etc. The contrast was so stark, that’s about the time I realized I had to do something about myself.
All on You
This one is definitely darker than most of the record. It’s told from the perspective of a friend that’s noticed you aren’t leaving the house or socializing much, seemingly because you’re obsessed with yourself and your music. In reality, it’s due to depression and anxiety keeping you from taking that step to reach out to a friend. This is one of the songs on here where I basically dig at myself from the harshest angle, an outlet that helps me grind through my worst times by becoming self aware. I think this song is my favorite instrumentally.
This is probably where the album gets its second wind and recovers from the dark place it just was, at least sonically. Lyrically, the song’s about understanding that people you used to be close to are still out there living their lives in the same realm as you, and really the only obstacles keeping you from seeing each other are the interpersonal boundaries you set. It’s a weird concept to me, becoming codependent with someone and ending up more disconnected than you are with total strangers.
Walk in the Door
Here’s another one that sounds deceptively sugar-sweet. I wrote this at a really desperate point. It’s about that split-second lapse of judgement that happens when you miss something that you know you’re better without, if not only for the immediate gratification you may get. It resolves with the understanding that sometimes, in order to protect yourself, it’s best to keep those thoughts locked up and to throw away the key.
Rest Your Head
This is another one that gets uglier the further you pull the curtain back. It’s about falling really hard for someone and creating all of these unwarranted expectations, only to be let down by your own imagination. The narrator here is aware of their own unhealthy habits, yet they fall for it again and again, falling in love with people and ideas that aren’t truly rooted in reality. “You don’t know how happy you make me, I want you to feel the same.”
Second Chance 2: II
I think this one is pretty on the nose. It’s mostly about my parents, and how I sometimes feel ashamed or ungrateful that I devote so much time to music instead of a simpler, more traditional path. DIY music accolades are pretty arbitrary to anyone not already involved, so I appreciate that they trust me with all of the touring and promotion we do, since it all does sound pretty ridiculous on paper. Why would anyone drive states away to play to 20 kids in a basement?
This song is the bookend that complements “SPF 5,000,” wrapping up all the concepts presented in the preceding half-hour. It regards depression and self-loathing as a toxic lover, one that forces you to act ways you normally wouldn’t. It’s also about finding the right reasons to help yourself at least a little bit in order to be the best self you can be for everyone around you. The last line is actually anecdotal, and has a certain meaning to me, but I’m choosing to let the listener attribute their own to it. “Stand on the stage and we appear as silhouettes; against the sunlight, we are darkness.”