Review by Shannon Shumaker
Des Ark’s new album, Everything Dies has a way of lulling you into relaxation with emotional and personal tracks, carried mainly by acoustic guitar and soft vocals before shaking things up and waking you up with aggressive pop songs, and the combination is absolutely beautiful. Lyrically, Everything Dies is a very personal album, and the instrumentals, melodies and vocal harmonies only back up the incredible emotional high points.
Bringing in Everything Dies is “Peace To You Too, Motherfucker,” which, despite it’s abrasive title, is very mellow and soft. The album begins with soft and peaceful guitar picking, made stronger only by the beautiful and soft vocals that eventually come in. The sound is a little haunting and eerie, but absolutely stunning as well, and the backing vocals are incredible, adding yet another level to the song.
Showcasing Des Ark’s versatility right off the bat is the second song, “Ties,” which is big with strong drums and piano, coupled with beautiful vocal harmonies. “Ties” is poppy yet biting, contrasting amazingly with the solo, stripped down sound on the previous track. “You Pregnant Motherfucker” is the perfect blend of these two very different sides of Des Ark. Starting very similar to the first song, this track comes in with somber guitar and soft vocals, but quickly blooms into something much bigger and fuller, giving listeners another taste of the full band Des Ark, with plenty of emotion. This song feels like a ballad, and is easily one of the more poppy sounding, as well as one of the warmest songs on the album. Don’t let the abrasive and sometimes comical song titles fool you - these songs are full of incredibly personal and beautiful lyricism and gorgeous vocal runs.
Everything Dies just seems to get more and more beautiful as it progresses, too. “Snake Stuff” is a heartbreakingly beautiful track, with soft and emotional vocals alongside beautiful acoustic guitar picking. “I was born with a heart/That drags me down deserted roads/And wrecks me in the dark,” Aimée Argote coos in the opening lines of this song, setting the mood for the rest of the track. “Don Taco & His Hot Sauce Toss” is another bright and catchy song, despite the bittersweet story about falling in love with someone that you know you have to leave. This track is very warm and folky, showing yet another side to Des Ark.
“French Fries Are Magical” and the following track, “Street Woods” are another emotional high point of Everything Dies, as well as two of the strongest songs on the album. “French Fries Are Magical” is a love song with beautiful and heartfelt lyrics, flowing perfectly into “Street Woods,” which slows down the album before the final track, “Nitetime Moths.”
Everything Dies is the perfect combination of abrasive and emotional. These songs are raw and heartfelt, catchy and beautiful. One second, you’re listening to full band Des Ark, supplemented by piano, guitar and strong drums, all lead by blunt and honest vocals, and the next, Aimée Argote is stripping things down with just a simple acoustic guitar and soft vocals. Needless to say, the contrast is not only beautiful, but incredibly well written. Everything Dies is an album that listeners will find themselves playing on repeat again and again.
Listen to "Ties" or "French Fries Are Magical"
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