WRITTEN BY: Hannah Kay
Though the still-sweltering heat belies it, fall has officially fell – and fall means gray skies, gloomy weather, and appropriately dark music to match the mood settling over everything. Thankfully, the Toronto quartet Selfish Things have unleashed their first full-length album, Logos, into the world just in time for everybody to set their clocks backwards to those sad boy hours.
Selfish Things are relative newcomers to the scene, but have already made a stellar first impression with their EP Vertical Love (2018), and a moniker that references the classic Jimmy Eat World track “23.” Consisting of Alex Biro (lead vocals/guitar/piano), MIke Ticar (lead guitar/backing vocals), Cam Snooks (rhythm guitar) and Jordan Trask (drums), Selfish Things already display an impressive understanding of their own strengths on both technical and aesthetic levels. Logos is a dark and brooding record; the atmosphere it creates in its eleven tracks is close, urgent, and unrelenting.
The picture Biro paints of himself through Logos is not a happy one. His distinct, plaintive howls soar over the record, turning each track into a cry for help (“Synaptic”), a cold condemnation (“Flood”), or a declaration of hard-won solace amidst misery (“Youth”) – or some combination of the three. He holds no emotion back; leaves no stone unturned in his journey through the darkest parts of his heart and mind. Even the decidedly grooving “Crutch” hides feelings worthlessness and self-doubt under that addictive riff that perches itself on top of the track, seeing Biro kick things off with – “It seems that everything I do I regret/Will my friends still bury me?” A handful of voices join the chorus throughout the album, with Logos featuring guest appearances by Andy Leo (Crown The Empire) on “Blood,” Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath, Sleepwave) on “Torn,” and William Ryan Key (Yellowcard) on “Drained.” While some guest verses in songs have the potential to overshadow the artist they are accompanying, these three incredibly talented men prop Biro up, hoisting him on their shoulders to be heard far and wide.
Weaving in and out of pained lyrics, Biro’s bandmates are a force to be reckoned with all on their own. Trask’s drums are mixed masterfully with each crack of his snare and boom of his bass cutting clear across the track. Songs opting to go without him (“Synaptic,” “Youth”) don’t feel empty, though – his absence instead feels haunting, opening a gaping maw sonic gloom threatening to swallow the world whole. Ticar and Snooks keep each other on their toes and display their own prowess on both ends of Logos’ spectrum of energy – they are able to both drive the record with crunchy, driven ferocity and cradle it in moments of vulnerability. Ticar kicks off the underrated track “Rowen” with a spacey, infectious sound that’s not unlike Kurt Cobain in the beginning of “Come As You Are” – and that’s far from being a bad thing. It’s a tasteful nod to the grunge legends, and it accents the industrial, methodical track perfectly.
It’s hard to do a song that bares one’s soul; one that lays everything out and opens the singer up to the crows in their Twitter replies and back of the venue. It’s harder still to do that for every song on an album, but Selfish Things display a powerful confidence and control over the doubt, fear, and anger they express in Logos. Never once does it feel like Biro is whining to the listener or begging for pity – he is aware of his own faults and sins, and opens himself up to the world for his own sake, not someone else’s.
So as the days get shorter, the weather gets colder and the sky grows darker, do yourself a favor and take Logos out for a spin. It’s a trip into the darkest parts of yourself, but hey – what’s October for if not exploring that darkness?
Record For Fans Of: Boston Manor, Trash Boat
Spin This Track: “Rowen”
Follow writer Hannah Kay on Twitter @deadgodspeed