You Won’t Get What You Want is the first studio album from the Rhode Island band, Daughters, in eight years. It feels like a breakthrough recording, the album that should catapult this group into the national spotlight, but the odds of that level of recognition are slim. This isn’t “Despacito.” You Won’t Get What You Want is a revelation of despair, a guided walking tour through a personal hell.
Daughters has always leaned hard into the noise rock genre, and this record sounds like an off-balance washing machine, threatening to bang itself through the wall. Drummer Jon Syverson and bassist Samuel Moorehouse Walker provide the lowest of low end, overdriven and tympanic. It is a threatening rhythm section, the rumble of an aftershock, the diesel truck with the “check engine light” glowing. Guitarist Nicholas Andrew Sadler is everywhere, wrangling unearthly sounds from his axe. One second, it sounds like a dulcimer; the next, like a dragon. Through it all, vocalist Alexis S.F. Marshall talks and screams like a drunken unreliable storyteller. His tracks are mostly buried in the mix. It sounds like he’s trying to tell you something incredibly important while a long train rushes past an open window in the room you’re both in.
“The Reason They Hate Me” is the perfect jumping-in point for Daughters; if this song doesn’t grab you, perhaps that new Michael Bublé album may be more to your liking. It features the most standard song structure on the album, but the lyrics are incredibly harsh (“Don’t tell me how to do my job/You gimme-gimme son of a bitch”). Meanwhile, the music swirls around in both of the listener’s ears like angry hornets, perfectly emphasizing Marshall’s frustration. The song is a workplace anthem, and easily the standout track on the record.
“Guest House,” the seven-minute long opus that closes the proceedings, is an apocalyptic alarm, filled with heavy drums and six-stringed klaxons. Marshall screams, “Let me in,” while the song goes into freefall. The rushing sounds, the sense of everything exploding and imploding simultaneously, the awareness of gaps that must be filled in. “The Lord’s Song” is the aural equivalent of anime racing, a quarter-mile confessional, hurtling headlong through a stained glass window and landing on the hard asphalt of fear. “Less Sex” may be the oddest song on You Won’t Get What You Want, a stifled blues song that sounds like it was recorded underwater by a particularly paranoid H.P. Lovecraft. There’s a strong sense of the oppressive unknown in this tune, and it settles in the listener’s brain like a cold chill on a summer day.
Listening to You Won’t Get What You Want must be what it is like to drink LSD-laced radiator moonshine; it might do irreparable harm, but you’re going to experience some unspeakable shit on the way to the hospital. It rattles one like good no wave should, intentionally off-kilter, requiring the listener to adapt. There are no kid gloves here. But if one is ready for it, You Won’t Get What You Want will give the listener precisely what they need. It represents Daughters at top form, and it is one of the most gratifying listens of the year.
You Won’t Get What You Want is available through Ipecac Records wherever fine music is sold.