The Brighton outfit’s full-length premiere arrives an agonising two years after their self-titled EP set off a spark or two in the name of gloomy post-rock. In contrast with its beautifully elaborate artwork and grammar-defying track titles, ‘Silently, I Threw Them Skyward’ projects a raw emotional honesty rarely found in the age of autotune and over-production. Sometimes it helps to hit a few duff notes.
Ethereal opener ‘shadows in hibernation’ introduces Sean Mahon’s particular style of strained vocals, a facet of raw sentiment with every unplanned crack in his cries. “It’s not gonna change,” cries ‘twitching with every apology’, showcasing a seamless contrast between downtempo contemplations and gut-wrenching refrains throughout its epic seven minutes.
The sorrowful refrain of ‘vesalius’ condemns, only passively-aggressively, “the words on your tongue will never taste the same”. We Never Learned To Live are straightforward in their messages, exhibiting lyrical heartbreak without hiding behind overblown eloquence.
A glistening reflection throughout ‘crystalline, so serene’ plays out a relaxing discourse with the guttural cries of ‘fragmented footnotes on self-diagnosis’, delivered straight from the heartstrings. The intensity escalates only briefly for ‘you will sleep now, Yourko’, cramming more hostility behind each chord.
Closing with the whopping eight minute ‘tasting paralysis’, a powerful backing from drummer Gary Marsden adds depth to an analysis of mental vulnerability alongside atmospheric guitars. However, “we’re all afraid to sleep” wearily repeated for a good few minutes sounds akin to a stuck record.
‘Silently, I Threw Them Skyward’ tracks the banality of internal conflict with all the necessary vocal imperfections and blunt lyrical content, albeit at times in the same tired key. Melodic and mellow in equal measure, there’s certainly a future for We Never Learned To Live.
’Silently, I Threw Him Skyward’ by We Never Learned To Live is out now on Holy Roar Records.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)