I'M DOING THIS TO MYSELF (COLV)
Label: SELF AWARE
Release Date: August 28, 2020
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North Carolina’s Alright have been doing this to each other for a while. Vocalist/guitarist Sarah Blumenthal and bassist Josh Robbins led up to their debut LP with several short but measured bursts of fuzzy indie-punk. In those brief moments, like their debut 7” and 2018’s On the Outs EP, the band navigates the confusion that follows saying what you mean and being resistant to other calculated risks. Their debut LP has them taking the largest leap of faith yet: they’re advocating for, and antagonizing, themselves for the sake of art. It’s no wonder the end product is titled I’m Doing This to Myself.
Produced by Kyle Pulley (Kississippi, Thin Lips) and mastered by Will Killingsworth, Myself builds on Alright’s blueprint by fortifying their solid foundation. “Lapse” and “Wild Dunes” are two slices of thorny guitar pop that admit the love we want is often not what we get, especially when drastic changes are being asked of us as an unwelcome compromise. As this is an Alright record, the unease that comes with sudden change gets matched with wobbly soundtracking, like the thrumming rhythm section on “Tiptoe” or the nuclear blast of “No Good,” which entertains the idea of intrusive thoughts being entire people. When the action pauses for brief shifts in the playbook—the fuzz gets lifted on “Dewdrops” to make room for a call-and-response verse, for example—Alright’s drawing attention to a different anxiety. Take a listen to the closer, “Steady,” where the band’s yearning for stability reaches a creative and cathartic peak. While the choices we make often define the aftermath, everybody just wants to find a balance between what’s done and what’s to come. That’s something Alright did to themselves, but also together. (James Casser)