Life can often feel like you’ve been stationary for decades, only passively interacting with people and things, and like you’re watching the most drawn-out stop-motion decay. Places and people that used to make you feel alive will eventually become dull, hollow reminders of memories tainted by age and nostalgia until your brain inevitably decides to weaponize them and you get paper cuts from the stills trapped inside your head. The toll taken from living with the emotional turmoil that comes from seeing your whole life turned inside-out that bleeds through the full scope of the label-debut from Ypsilanti, MI’s Ness Lake; a war-torn white-flag called Kicking.
Where previous projects of Ness Lake mastermind Chandler Lach felt like a vibrant celebration of all the highs and lows of life, Kicking feels like a dark room that’s lit only by the specs of light that sneak past the blinds. The songwriting on the record pays close attention to the minutiae of life; opting to make the small moments that we often overlook feel more like the most grandiose and life-altering interactions of Chandler’s young life. “Cheery Menthol” sees his struggling with traditional concepts of masculinity, and hides a little bit of its “too meek to look you in the eyes” attitude with one the album’s scarcely earworm-y vocal melodies, and sees Chandler longing for the smallest of memories that he’s chosen to cling to, practically begging to “watch Fight Club with your dad again on DVD.”
Kicking is life on the longest exhale; it’s shallow breath and the muddy thoughts that fall out of your mouth like loose teeth. It’s losing touch with things that once made you feel like yourself and coming to terms with the way the world seems to keep spinning even when you feel like you’ve been at a stand-still for years.