Daughters- You Won’t Get What You Want
Stream and buy the LP here.
Daughters is a band with many faces. All their LPs have been drastically different from one another. Their debut record, Canada Songs, is 11 minutes of pure abrasive noisecore. Their sophomore, Hell Songs, embraced the more math side of them while beginning to show signs of a new direction on the horizon. It was on this LP that vocalist Alexis Marshall started showing off his unique vocal style, which has been appropriately described as that of a drunk wedding singer. Somehow, though, with the direction the group was going in, it all made sense. Things really started hitting the fan with their at-the-time posthumous self-titled record. This has to be one of the most divisive LPs ever made, and it’s understandable why. It is one of my favorite records of the decade, but it’s such a change of direction and, o the record, you can hear the members’ disagreements with each other. Continuing the theme of marriage, Daughters’ self-titled record very much feels like an intense, violent divorce. However, this divorce was short-lived. Daughters reformed three years later, and now, five years since then, we have a brand-new studio project from the group entitled You Won’t Get What You Want. I cannot think of a better name for a Daughters record.
The singles leading up to this record showcased Daughters at their most, well, Daughters. “Satan in the Wait” was a slow, dreary, 7-minute track, whereas “The Reason They Hate Me” was a super dancy punk track. With these two tracks, I knew You Won’t Get What You Want was going to be the Daughters record I would have wanted following up their self-titled after all these years. What I wasn’t expecting, though, was to open up with a full-on industrial noise track. I didn’t realize how much I wanted Daughters to open an LP up with a track like “City Song” until I first heard this record. This industrial style seems to reprise itself throughout the tracklist, from the very next song “Long Road, No Turns,” to the singles, up until the last moments of “Guest House.” While it made sense to me that they were going on tour with the likes of Street Sects (who I just reviewed here) and Echo Beds, it makes even more sense with this LP under their belt now.
The noisy industrial is just part of the blueprint. Outside of that connection, each of these tracks vary in style. Tracks like “The Flammable Man” and “The Guest House” show that Daughters have not abandoned their mathcore roots at all, with super hypnotic and chaotic instrumentals. Then there are tracks like “Less Sex” that are quite bluesy and moody, despite the harsh noise. These tracks have a very Swans-esque approach, especially on the two epics of the LP, “Satan in the Wait” and “Ocean Song,” which, rather than go through various styles, stay closely-knit with one and craft a track that becomes much more hypnotic as it progresses.
The drum work throughout You Won’t Get What You Want is the foundation of the entire record. Without it, none of the sounds you’re hearing would be able to be pulled off as nicely as they are. This switches from the authentic, chaotic drums found on tracks like “The Flammable Man” and “Guest House” to the electronic, smoother drums on tracks like “City Song” and “Less Sex.” The inclusion of these electronic drums especially enhances the record, and once again shows that Daughters is a band that, despite age, is keeping up with the modern influences. The guitars on this project also provide some nice influences, creating an eerie atmosphere on tracks like “Satan in the Wait” and then going to something super catchy and hyper on tracks like “The Reason They Hate Me.” You always have some serious hypnotic punky goodness all over the project, especially on “The Lord’s Song.” The bass could be utilized more, but really shows off a nice groove on “Less Sex” and “Ocean Song.”
Alexis Marshall has always been a vocalist of many voices, fit for a band of many faces. As seen in the earlier Daughters work like Canada Songs, as well as his side project Fucking Invincible, he can be one of the most chaotic in the hardcore punk game. With Daughters, he’s been exploring these very post-punk vocals that have been very accurately described on their self-titled as a “drunk Elvis Presley.” However, as he sings through these tracks, he sounds much more desperate and hopeless. He’s scared and depressed on You Won’t Get What You Want. Even on tracks like “The Reason They Hate Me,” when he sings the line “Don’t tell me how to do my fucking job,” he sounds more like he’s begging than angry. Then on tracks like “The Flammable Man” and “Less Sex,” we see him being paranoid, as if something is coming after him that only he can see. His lyrics on this LP are very repetitive, but not in an annoying way at all. His voice, alongside the atmosphere the instrumental crafts, effectively makes his words more hypnotic and captivating as the songs progress.
My problems with You Won’t Get What You Want is when Daughters seems to play it more safely, ironically. Not necessarily as in providing elements from their previous work, but rather when tracks like “Long Road, No Turns” and “Daughter” play off of what the predecessor set for them. They’re pretty decent tracks on their own, but on an LP that’s full of original tracks that somehow find themselves making sense with each other, when these songs come on and just play off the respective tracks before them, it feels a bit weird. I feel like, in any other case, this wouldn’t be an issue, but on this particular record it just seems out of focus.
You Won’t Get What You Want is a comeback record done right. Daughters aren't here to live off of their previous works’ success. Their message has always been to push their musical boundaries to the absolute limit, and they did exactly that on this new record. It’s absolutely fresh, chaotic, anxious, and most of all, genius. This record will be another one that’s quite divisive amongst the fans, so check it out and be part of the discussion.
VERDICT: You Won’t Get What You Want is everything I want from a Daughters record in 2018.
- Alex Brown