Contrary to what the world wants you to think, the holiday season sort of sucks. It’s not just the usual stresses associated with these end of the year celebrations—the pressures of present-buying and complicated travel commitments, the tense family dinners and surreal work gatherings, consumerism’s relentless tug-of-war with religion; it’s also the frigid weather, the perpetual darkness, the icy sidewalks and silver skies, the salt-stained buildings and gutters of grey slush.
This is why Everything Melts Eventually, Broken Circles’s annual release, may be the best musical representation of the holiday season that we have. Slow and dark, each song on this seven-inch compilation evokes the trek across a frozen parking lot after a long shift at a seasonal job. For its second volume, Everything Melts Eventually features five artists whose records the label released in 2016, each allowing the season to stretch their sound.
Take Pro Teens, who trade their bonfire-on-the-beach R&B for something noisier and dissonant and tangled; on “Somewhere Along the Lines of Disappointment,” singer Andy Phipps snarls through a blizzard of guitars that swirl around him before tightening into a chorus that alternates between sweet an sour. Later, on “Insecure,” Hypoluxo channels the same mellow hypno-pop they exhibited on their debut If Language, though the song seems to jangle with a forlorn sort of melancholy, leaving singer and guitarist Samuel Cogen's baritone bobbing on the droning chords.
Other songs on Everything Melts Eventually feel more open and airy, though somehow intimate. On Triathalon’s “Bad Mood,” it’s the empty space between the song’s crystalline chords and minimal beat that make the song feel sensual, as do the lightheaded guitars on James Bishop’s “Bad Names.” These songs are almost seductive, but no less bright; evoking not a romantic night beside the fireplace but a sweaty night between the sheets, the radiator cranked too high, frost etching the windows. Talons’s track channels a different sort of intimacy; on “Driving Home from Shows,” songwriter Mike Tolan sets a nostalgic scene, his guitar ticking quietly beneath him, but the moment disappears, dreamlike, too soon.
Everything Melts Eventually fulfills quietest responsibility best by expressing the season’s solemnity—its lonely intimacy, its frozen awe—so accurately, far better than any Christmas carol or holiday hit ever could.
500 copies - Random Colored Vinyl
100 copies - Metallic Silver Cassette