Clichéd statement much? Oh yeah, definitely. But clichés exist for a reason, mostly for the perpetuity in their truths. This allows for them to get reworked in various ways that not only expand upon their age-old wisdom, but allows for them to become digestible through a modern lens. Kind of like Temporary Things Taking Up Space.
The latest from LA-based Dead Sara (as well as their first release under Atlantic Records), Temporary Things Taking Up Space both revamps the idea of brevity while it refreshes the band’s sound as a whole. For those loyal fans of Emily Armstrong’s raw, craggy voice, relax: the front-woman still pegs every lyric with that honest, imperfectly-perfect larynx of hers. What’s different this time around is tone.
Take, for example, “Times to Remember,” the EP’s first track. In comparison to other singles like “Lemon Scent” or “Mona Lisa,” “Times to Remember” could very well be included on the soundtrack of a John Hughes movie (albeit a seriously punk one). Here the usual drops provided by Armstrong along with lead guitarist Emily Armstrong and drummer Sean Friday are not to be found. Instead there’s a hopeful strum that dances along to lyrics all about the nostalgia caused by restless discontent. It’s a tune that’s unabashedly honest, and reminds listeners to save those good memories for the not-so-good stretches.
The need for self-definition by exploring the past is the thread that binds the entire EP together. “Anybody” is a cry for meaning through companionship; “One Day We’ll Make it Big” muses on teenage aspirations from years back. Even songs like “Unamerican” and “Heaven’s Got a Backdoor Too”–where Dead Sara’s signature grit resurfaces–shake their heads at current failings and past missteps. But in typical Dead Sara-like fashion, the band shakes it’s fist at the haters with pride and defiance. They are the way they are, regrets not included.
That’s the main thing to keep in mind with “nothing lasts forever:” things come and go outside of anyone’s control. This means extra effort is necessary to cherish golden days; likewise, make cutbacks on the time spent on mulling over those “humiliations.” So drop that negative juju and do a Dead Sara: shake that fist hard and proud.
‘Temporary Things Taking Up Space’is out now via Atlantic Records.