by Joe Wasserman (@fluxyjoe)
Moaning Lisa deconstruct love songs to reinvent and re-contextualize them for our hyper-political and (slowly but surely) more accepting culture. Riffs permeate the consciousness of Do You Know Enough? as strongly as the lyrics depict ephemeral romances or singledom. When Do You Know Enough? (or DYKE? for the acronym-friendly) opens with an anthem like “Carrie (I Want a Girl),” you listen. When you’re told with such self-assurance and moxie, that a girl wants a girl who’s an activist, a girl who knows her sexuality—“a girl like me”—you immediately bust out Bumble and do not stop swiping until you find one for her. Moaning Lisa more than pull off the punk snobbery: they exude confidence and let the listener know that they know exactly what they’re doing.
While not as immediate a standout as the other four songs, “Good” is on the same playing field with tracks from other ethereal artists such as Alvvays and Tancred. “Good” is shoegaze at its most pleasant: all hooks and ambient vocals with a head-bobbing beat. The sequencing of the track on the EP is a perfect comedown from the scorching opener and embering, sobering “Lily,” where Moaning Lisa truly shine. The track is the climax of a teenage romantic comedy. The montage of the beer bash flickers across the screen as the film’s leads bond on the hood of their car at Makeout Point. Haunting vocals careen across shimmering guitars and a driving bass line: “When will I see you? / When will I tell you?” Yes, I’m rooting for the narrator as much as I want Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson to finally kiss. But if that means that the narrator of “Lily” will stop singing, then, selfishly, I pray her heart remains broken.
“Comfortable” grooves in the space between Weezer and Smashing Pumpkins. It retains the moody, clean guitars of the latter and throws in universal lyrics the former forgot how to write: “It’s cool you can’t hang out this afternoon / I can do the things I wouldn’t normally do around you.” Moaning Lisa coolly combine these two moods to craft a better alternative rock song than any cookie-cutter straight white dude could make in the nineties.
“Sun” begins like a perfect beach day: it’s breezy, ambient, welcoming. But there’s a looming spectre, an unacknowledged request, in its descending chorus: “Take good care of me, sun / Will you take care of me, sun?” An answer never comes in the chaotic, soaring outro. Any answer that could be offered would be less satisfying than the open ending. “Walk outside and breathe in the air, / Let the sun open your eyes for you.”
Moaning Lisa’s Do You Know Enough? is an example of exactly what an EP should be as a means to whet the listener’s appetite for more to come. At just over 20 minutes, it satisfies you completely while leaves you wanting more.
Somebody give this girl a Carrie Brownstein already.