Title: You Won't Get What you Want
Genre: Industrial Noise Rock
Released: 26 October 2018
"The incorrigible wheel tilts at a grotesque angle
The delay is upon me
Who locked the door?
Who bent the key?
I've been knocking and knocking and knocking and knocking
Pounding and knocking and knocking
Let me in"
I work the close shifts at work occasionally, so some nights I get home around 1am. I’m not always tired straight away either, so I might stay up for a bit until I’m ready to sleep. I think this is important to mention, because one night I came home from work and for some reason decided to listen to this album for the first time from start to finish at 1 in the morning.
Let me tell you, that was some fucked up shit.
This is Daughters’ first album after a seven-year hiatus since their self-titled release. In case you haven’t listened to this band or album before like I hadn’t, and don’t know exactly what you’re getting yourself into; this is the single most disturbing thing I have ever heard. I legitimately don’t even know how to describe some of the things that are in this album. In fact, I find it extremely difficult to articulate what I love so much about this album. I heard someone mention that listening to this album was like scratching an itch they didn’t even know was there, which I think is the best way to describe it. It's incredibly morbid, and is in no way an easy listen, but in the end is also one of the most interesting releases of last year.
This entire album is like listening to a mental breakdown unfold. It has a very loose narrative, but is primarily driven by themes of extreme mental illness, which are expressed through some of the most harrowing lyrics I have ever heard in my entire life. Even the more abstract songs, such as the opening track City Song, have extremely disturbing imagery. This very first song is the most cryptic of them all, but still clearly introduces the main perspectives of the album; paranoia, fear, anxiety and depression. This is where the violent and relentless instrumentation of You Won’t Get What You Want starts; in its opening minutes. The way the band have mixed electronic and rock music to create this maelstrom of noise is nothing short of terrifying. So if it wasn’t obvious already, I highly recommend probably not listening to this in a dark room at 1am after a long shift at work.
The next song, Long Road, No Turns introduces the themes of the albums more concretely, and is the first instance of the album where I legitimately do not know how some of the sounds are being made. There is a constant droning noise throughout the song that is being made by a guitar, but it is completely indescribable. There are moments in this song in particular, as well as The Flammable Man and The Lord’s Song, that feel like being legitimately assaulted. It is the most terrifying experience I have ever had listening to music. There’s something about not being able to place what you are hearing exactly which is genuinely unnerving. The album perfectly balances this with some of the best production on any rock album I have ever heard, which is how it manages to stay so coherent amongst such chaotic and overbearing instrumentation. Satan in the Wait is a perfect demonstration of this, with parts of the chorus even sounding genuinely beautiful, peering through the cracks of the despondent lyrics and violent instrumentals. This is my favourite track on the album, with it providing some of the most poetic and dark imagery as well as absolutely breath-taking production.
“That bastard had a head like a matchstick
Face like he was sucking concrete through a straw
"Some faces not even a mother can love."
Says the spit and spatter of broken glass from above
"There's a tombstone where your headboard used to be."
They tell him every night before sleep
Every night before he dreams big and comes complete”
In the middle of the album, Less Sex is a more stripped back and melodic track which leads to one of the most satisfying climaxes on the album. There is a moment towards the end of this track that once again manages to simultaneously be extremely disturbing and beautiful at the same time, harmonizing the distorted instrumentals with the vocals, creating a sound that is extremely relieving within an album that is so determined to isolate and traumatise the listener.
After the return to form in the (Kind of) self-titled track Daughter, the song The Reason They Hate Me is one of the album’s most relentless and most rock-focused tracks. As probably the “catchiest” of all the songs on the album, it is most likely the best place to start in order to ease into the more chaotic sounds of the rest of the record. It is extremely tightly produced, and the guitar on this song is one of the most grotesque things I have ever heard. Again, I don’t know how they made some of these noises come out of the guitars, but I have never been as impressed as I was the first time I heard some of the things from this song and from this album overall.
Ocean Song is actually a story song about a man named Paul who is overcome with this sense of existential dread. He feels this irrational and impulsive need to run away in an attempt to escape his thoughts, but is ultimately unsuccessful. It's an amazing track which manifests themes from throughout the album in a story that is actually grounded in reality. However it is the final song of the album which is most memorable moment on the album for me. I have never heard something more disturbing than Guest House, and I doubt I ever will. The lyrics are screamed by a man asking to be let into someone’s house. It is completely unclear what his intentions are, with the sheer desperation of his voice making it ambiguous whether he is in danger or whether he is trying to harm the person inside, but either way it sounds straight out of a horror movie. The album finishes here, and I decided it was 2am and I should probably go to bed.
This album is an emotionally brutal experience. It has some of the most unrelenting and violent instrumentation I have personally ever heard, and the lyrics deal with extremely heavy themes. But at the same time there is an incredible level of detail in every single song in both the song writing and production which makes it strangely satisfying and rewarding to listen to. As I said at the beginning of this review, this is the single most disturbing thing I have ever heard. But if you’re able to endure, I think you’ll find this is also one of the single best albums to come out of 2018, and even the last decade.