Saturday, February 3, 2018

Leyland Kirby - We, So Tired Of All The Darkness In Our Lives Review

You know, for the clairvoyance of We, So Tired Of All The Darkness In Our Lives' title, Leyland Kirby sure loves wallowing in it. Released as a fan-pleasing, name your price LP on Bandcamp, the collection of mightily strong and foreboding outtakes reads like anything but. The compositions all fall in line, unified under the pressures, anxieties, and fears of 2017. Releasing this any other year, given the events unfolding before our very eyes, wouldn't have been nearly as impactful. Unlike his distinctive titling on his lauded side project The Caretaker, which describe with an inconclusive haze the memories of fading individuals, We So Tired affirmably sinks the coffin that is modern society into the grave. Believe it or not, this is undoubtedly Kirby's darkest project. Whereas epics like An Empty Bliss Beyond This World foretold a single mind's demise through dying memories, We So Tired expands the platform to include us all. Optimistic titles like 'Positive Outcome' or 'Solid Mentality' are overwhelmed by the dread titles like 'Momentum Is Not On Our Side,' 'Drowning In The Quagmire,' and 'Bursts Of Anxiety' bring along.

However, while Kirby's titles almost always draw curious attention, it's the sonic distinction that's most pressing throughout We So Tired. Never before, to my knowledge, has Kirby inserted drums to his repertoire. The rarity actually heightens their usage, giving an instrument that's inconsequential elsewhere, new meaning through a new lens. They pound along, like slaves forced to work through the night. Tired, beaten, and marred. Sometimes they're combined with flighty strings, like 'Momentum Is Not On Our Side' or 'Back In The Game,' that give the slightest tinge of hope in this dreary world. Other times, like 'Rain Drenched' or 'Drowning In The Quagmire,' they fracture like palpitated heartbeats over cacophonous ambience that bears resemblance to downtempo Vaporwave artists 2 8 1 4. Then there's tracks like 'Solid Mentality' and 'Bursts Of Anxiety' where they're not included at all, as Kirby resorts to pure Ambient, the former crystalizing like a momentous video game soundtrack, the latter defying hope with a bleak and downtrodden drone.

The change of pace for Kirby is one that breathes new life into his talents, ones that have become noticeably one-dimensional. Echoing 20's vocals samples or not, the UK producer can still successfully conjure dark and ominous reverberations with whatever outlet he's given. The one glaring problem of We So Tired is its length, not a surprise given the 90+ minute duration. You'd think with that kind of time, ambition and scale would mount, but in reality these tracks do tend to follow a uniform pattern. One ends, the other begins anew. Broken apart, their intention still resonates. In other words, after the 90-minute endurance test, I'm not exiting We So Tired feeling exonerated or alive, but defeated and spent. Maybe that was Kirby's goal. Given how dark each pressing moment is here, leaving satisfied with a sense of hope optimism isn't something to expect.


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