by Colin Vallee (@colinjbeard)
The opening of Gomme's new EP, Absent Healing, starts with an absurdly benign warning. Spoken by the only male voice you'll hear on the record, drunken and increasingly panicked, "There’s something else I wanted to say... I don’t know if you really wanna hear it... but I really wanna tell ya... I found a wasp in the garden."
As soon as those final words are uttered the song immediately cuts to the the lonely bass line of "Es Ist Zeit" (It is time). Everything about the first minute of this EP feels disorienting and subversive, and it can be hard to tell where it’s heading. Then the searing guitar barrels in over the throngs of drums, centering the listener in the rush of sounds. Vocalists (and only officially credited Gomme members) Betsy Roszkowiak and Hannah Todt trade ominous vocals with increasing intensity and urgency until the song lopes to a shimmery and defeated end.
This entire release blazes on in this fashion, expertly skirting the lines of noise-filled post-punk and gothic psych-rock. Songs like “Es Ist Zeit” and “Floss” start in one mode, and immediately shift in another direction all together, rarely returning to those opening motifs. The lyrics are empowering and alienating, with both Roszkowiak and Todt taking turns delivering them with sinister confidence.
The track “Floss” is my personal favorite on this record, with the incredible opening lines, "Emotional cheater, lowly bottom feeder. Your lies lay beneath your honest eyes," and a wacky warbly synth line that embraces energy and chaos.
The only complaint I have is that this is an EP, and by nature is all too short, but Gomme's last release, Hiss, scratches the itch ever so slightly. Where Hiss feels more akin to their Paris punk peers, Absent Healing really leans into new territory with it's cleaner production and tighter compositions.