You Are Not Here (Kingfisher Bluez)
On its third full-length, You Are Not Here, posthardcore trio War Baby sounds almost at its breaking point when it comes to the cyclical mundanities of life. If you’re a Vancouver resident, congratulations—you’ll have insider knowledge on what the band is talking about, including a song titled “Renovicted”.
Backed by an endless wall of grungy guitars on short and punchy songs that get straight to the point, frontman Jon Redditt’s voice fights through all the noise to vent the frustration of being stuck in a sort of purgatory. The band often finds a percussive phrase or musical motif, repeating it until the listener is pummelled into submission. Some of these tracks are the mantras you keep turning over in your head to convince yourself that maybe there’s the tiniest glimmer of hope in the distance. And some of them are the doubting inner voices that put you in this headspace in the first place.
War Baby went into the recording sessions with what they called “a loose set of ideas for songs that were far from complete”, and the album is likely all the better for it. The band plays around with tempo switches, disrupting the flow to pull technically impressive guitar licks out of nowhere. “Forever Heavy” uses a sudden slower, contemplative section to bridge the gap between noisy grunge and shimmering power pop. Thankfully, it all ends on a hopeful note, with the calmer acoustic track “Come to Pass” having Redditt remind himself that all things eventually do.