When things unravel, you search for a way to make sense of the countless thoughts that cloud your mind. There is a fetching quote from a set of lyrics I came across recently that I think is the most accurate summation of this notion. It ends with “So when I finally close my eyes / I’ll find my self control”. These words are the one tangible thing that connects my understanding of the aural connectivity between Arrows’ Try and Stay Upright with the so-called real world.
It makes sense because Try and Stay Upright is fuelled by a sense of loss, and pain, and a lot of questions. Arrows are Australia’s poets of melancholia, taking cues from the likes of the Gloria Record and Mineral, the aching riffs and slow building melodies come down in crashing waves of jilted couplets and serious Midwestern emo/indie introspection. In “Calling Your Sponsor”, vocalist Anthony Morgan ends the alcohol-fuelled letter of loves lost with the piercing kind of heartfelt bitterness;
“Why don’t I feel myself when I’m along through the weeknights or fucking somebody else / I don’t know I guess it’s not your place to say anymore, anyway”
It is an uncontrollable emotion at times, and through the six tracks, Morgan is often trying to make sense of the swirling ideas in his head. He writes about past love that segues into the piano-driven reflection of the title track, about being drunk outside a show before the lyrics swerve into the almost scribbled down words; “so I went for a walk.” Almost as if he needed to break away from the path in which the words and music were taking his thoughts.
“Always With the Leaving” is the album’s grand centrepiece; a monstrous 6+ minute epic that traverses self-doubt, anger, and recovery with a beautiful sense of melodic sadness. There is also a poignant moment in the track; the best, most understated manner in which explains the very existence of all these songs;
“You ask ‘why you gotta write these songs about me?’ / I don’t, you write them for me / I just add the melody”
Try and Stay Upright is a remarkable attempt at making sense of the unravelling. The words are frenzied but the music is serene. We do not know the stories behind the words, and we cannot relate to them on the level in which they do because they are an honest reflection of the moments that inspired them. It is an odd juxtaposition but it is music in its truest form; personal. The best we can do is close our eyes and listen. (Hobbledehoy)
AUDIO STREAM: Arrows – “Calling Your Sponsor”
Arrows – “Calling Your Sponsor”