Like the bleakest moments of Elliott Smith, listening to “Chalk” evokes the claustrophobic silence of being slowly smothered to death. A lone, sombre acoustic guitar acts as the record’s skeleton, fleshed minimally in places with psychotic squalls of violin, droning harmoniums, lo-fi drums; its sickly narration simmering under cracked and panicked harmonies. The mood is one of terminal inevitability. To enter into this world is to get a glimpse of what it might feel like to be nursing the final drink at your own wake, watching everyone you used to know leave the room.
Every song explores a trap; a shattered illusion; an anticlimax. But it’s one line in “Missing” that perhaps best sums up the record: “feels like something is missing / somehow I’m missing out”.
By Alexander Ross Petersen