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The I.L.Y's - "Scum With Boundaries" | Album Review

by Nick Machak

In the year since their debut release I’ve Always Been Good at True Love, The I.L.Y’s have been busy, already finishing sophomore follow-up Scum With Boundaries. The band features Death Grips members Zach Hill and Andy Morin. However mysteriously, neither member has spoken about the project, the band has not toured on its own, and there is no known social media presence associated with the band.

On top of this, Scum With Boundaries is a cryptic album. Following in Death Grips tradition, the lyrics are often enigmatic. “I’m balancing a chair on some peanuts just for the fuck of it,” Zach Hill half-ass mutters on “Scum With Boundaries.” Why exactly is our protagonist—presumably Hill himself—balancing a chair on some peanuts? Lines like these are very common throughout the album, often registering as very humorous in their own regard, simply because of their sheer absurdity.

Despite these mind-boggling moments, a wide range of emotional reactions are felt throughout this album—everything from unavoidable head-jerking, to the chorus on “Peace and Quiet,” to nervous laughter at Hill’s extremely animalistic, 16-year-old-like exclamation of the sex he’s gearing up for on “I’m Gonna Have Sex.”

I love this album, and appreciate the variety of musical styles and emotions experienced in it. In an interview with Adult Swim, Hill speaks on behalf of Death Grips, saying “Most of our music, I would say, kind of comes from a negative place as far as the source of it—like a dissatisfaction with our own personal lives. But then ultimately it turns into a positive because that’s how we end up expressing ourselves.” This same drive and creativity is seen on Scum With Boundaries. The protagonist is not at all someone to look up to, indeed its possible that our protagonist is a scum (with boundaries, of course!) whose brain is mush, just looking for someone to love him. These negativities come to light, but they’re beautifully expressed. We can’t help but to sympathize with Hill -- we too all come from negative places in some aspect.

In the last verse of “Spiral to Me,” the album closer, Hill leaves us with a confession: “I lied when I said I was inspired.” There might be moments on this album where you feel inspired and hope to conjure up some deep, transcendental meaning to make some sense of it all. If you feel that way, then you too have lied—to yourself.