There’s the (maybe apocryphal) quote by Jorge Luis Borges where he declares that “novels are a waste of time; if you can’t say it as a short story, don’t say it at all“. Maybe LL Schultz has been following this advice lately, as the EP Island series of EPs have been nothing but solid.
Now that same philosophy is applied to Wear Me Out, the new EP from Down The Lees, one of the many musical outputs LL Schultz has at her disposal. It’s been a while since she’s worn the full suit of armour Down The Lees is and it shows: it sounds meaner, preciser and with severe hints of introspection.
‘Wear me out’ has a certain John Carpenter feeling in its intro, with the minimal bass and the longing arrangements. Why go baroque when you can be succinct? The synth solo adds to an atmosphere that broods (love the children voices in the back) and makes it a somber but punchier intro.
The lyrical urgency of ‘Temper Mapping’, the most heartfelt song of the trio, is perfectly accompanied by a droning electronic background that gives it a dab of cinematic coolness. “We used to walk on egg shells and lie // And tell how everything is fine” is the perfect closing argument of any relationship that has imploded ever. The synths for the chorus are simply majestic.
‘Brave’ probably has an interesting story behind it and the chorus, delivered in a sweet falsetto, is one of the biggest “fuck you” I’ve heard to an unknown recipient. It’s hard making the word “asshole” sound sweet, but Down The Lees pull it quite well. It’s a bitter track, juxtaposed with a sweet musical arrangement. Which is something straight out of the classic 80s book of hits: sweet music, unnerving lyrics.
Wear me out has only three arrows in its quiver. It patiently shoots three times. Every arrow splits the one before in half. Down The Lees has accuracy in spades.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López