Remember that scrapbook you or your friends may have had when growing up? Filled with faded photographs, random memorabilia, maybe an original poem or two. Each page feels like a time capsule wrapped in a dreamy haze. I Was Trying to Describe You To Someone, the sophomore album from Wednesday captures this feeling very well. Elements of grunge, indie-pop and shoegaze are used in place of Polaroids, post-it notes and cheesy quotes. And to great effect, the heavily distorted noise and lo-fi ambiance help sell the image of faded memories. Each subject delves deep into love, sadness, nostalgia, dreams and regret, with Karly Hartzman’s tender vocals gliding wistfully through a swirl of guitar noise.
The opening “Fate is” starts off with heavy grunge guitars that’s surprisingly easy to listen to. Hartzman’s voice cuts through in her soft almost-conversational delivery but heaves out in regret as she sings “Only reason that I did it was to find out what it’s like”. “Billboard” follows in a slow and serene pace. Vocals are overdubbed to get that nostalgic vibe. The guitars ring out like a siren of conflicting emotions. Overall it feels like going on a bus ride home and passing through places that hold painful memories.
“Love Has No Pride” has a heavy mood, one of those songs that can make you sigh without meaning to. The vocals waltzes in a slow tempo, detailing a day that just gets worse with lyrics like “It’s too much, “Sky looks like a bruise” and the chorus “Condemned, I am condemned”. “November” is a minimalist song, revolving around its poetry. Just like the ones you may have written on your notes, afraid to show anyone for fear of embarrassment. The line “There’s nothing like the way you loiter in my heart” is lifted up by wailing guitars.
“Coyote” is where the shoegaze ramps up, with knobs restlessly oscillating throughout the whole song, like an eerie howl of a creature from a Hitchcock film that’s lurking in the shadows. The lyrics tell a mundane story of a couple seemingly unaware of what’s happening, but then she asks “What’s making the noise outside / When it’s quiet on a Sunday night?”.
“Revenge of the Lawn” is deeply nostalgic, like that song you first wrote and recorded in an old cassette, hidden in old boxes only to be found years later. The acoustic guitars are sparse and the melodies are sweet. Vocal lines are overdubbed and out of sync, almost like it was an outtake. It’s charming and dreamy, the clattering tape noise mimics the patter of rain.
There is no title track in this album, but I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone fits the bill perfectly. We can never be too accurate in describing someone, the best we can do is lay down little details to the best of our ability. This album is much the same, and Wednesday has shared their life in bits and pieces that we can all experience and enjoy.