The jump from adolescence to adulthood sneaks up on you; a confusing and often overwhelming slalom between newfound freedoms, crushing obligation and the tensions between the two.
As we all know, this serves as the undercurrent of many a tender-hearted rock ’n’ roller’s songwriting escapades, but Wisconsin’s Disq explore it all in such playfully smart fashion that it feels totally fresh. That this should come decked out in such fabulously enjoyable music is the real treat, though - ‘Collector’ is the quintet’s second album (and first for emo-ricana stable Saddle Creek), and it’s an enthrallingly bold offering.
Isaac de Broux-Sloane’s voice has an endearingly careworn quality that meshes well with a knowing sense of snark; the existential flippancy of ‘Daily Routine’ finds the perfect midpoint on the balance beam between the two and welds it to a sumptuous melody. Meanwhile, two guitars interweave tastefully before exploding into caterwauling chaos, suggesting they’ve got a copy of ‘Icky Mettle’ stashed somewhere at home and they’ve already bested its finest tricks.
These 10 songs unfold over repeat listens, revealing de Broux-Sloane’s neat habit of examining his feelings rather than simply expressing them (“All I wanted was some loneliness / Guess I’ll have plenty of it soon”) goes the chorus to ‘Loneliness’, reflecting wryly on a self-absorbed need for solitude versus its bitter reality). Meanwhile echoes of The Posies, Weezer, Teenage Fanclub and more demonstrate the band’s collective gift for instantly memorable hooks – good luck getting the chorus to the brilliantly silly microphone ode ‘D19’ out of your head, not that you’ll want to try.
Not everything feels hewn from the purest of gold. ‘I Wanna Die’ delivers an explicitly detailed account of being locked into a depressive routine, but buries this compelling lyricism beneath almost six minutes’ worth of stodgy rifferama – it’s the only time the album feels like it drags.
In any case, we’ve already had more than our fair share of pop genius by that stage, and the pick of them all comes when ‘Konichiwa Internet’ turns on a dime between jerky alt-rock to a Brian Wilson-esque waltz. ‘I don’t know just what’s going on,’ sings de Broux-Sloane as the chorus peaks, but he’s fooling no one. ‘Collector’ is clever, catchy and addictive, and gets better with repeat plays. You can only imagine he and Disq know exactly what they’re doing.
Words: Will Fitzpatrick
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