Lead Sports vocalist Carmen Perry has a conversational style of singing that lends itself well to the kind of extended metaphor present on “The Washing Machine,” the closing track from the Ohio band’s upcoming sophomore album, All Of Something. Ostensibly, it’s about doing laundry, but it wastes no time unfolding into something more. “You’ve been running in circles to make it stop” is about a sweater starting to pill, but really it’s about staving off inevitability. The screams from the washing machine have nothing to do with shrunken dresses; it’s pent-up frustration at not being able to change trajectories. All of these feelings are bubbling right under the surface, purposefully not hard to grasp because it’s all leading down to an even deeper truth. What’s in our head will never match up to what actually happens — when idle fantasies turn into reality, it’s stained by the impossibility of living up to your dreams.
Small, cutting observations like “sometimes at night it looks like you’ve stopped breathing/ maybe it’s just that I am crushing you” point to the real problem: People change, and gradually the person you love isn’t really that person anymore. It’s an irreversible effect of life, like getting blood out of the sheets. It’s no one person’s fault — “too many things have gone wrong” and “we’re both letting each other down” — but it still happens, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Perry reprises a refrain from Sunchokes track “Tiny Planets” at the end of this song: “This is worth a try” morphs into “This is not my life.” A placeholder becomes a motif. We’ve been in these same situations before, and we’ll be in them again. The best we can do is hope to get out. Listen below.