The lingering effects of suicide, depression, and addiction are constant ghosts in Cameron Boucher’s songwriting. It’s there on this year’s heart-wrenching Sorority Noise track “Either Way,” and it hovers over last year’s excellent Joy, Departed, and it provides a basis for Old Gray’s cathartic forthcoming full-length, Slow Burn. Lead single “Everything Is In Your Hands” (which made our best songs of the week list) painted the exhausting aftermath in stark terms — “I can’t handle any more phone calls telling me another friend is dead” — and “Blunt Trauma,” which precedes that song on the album, is a more aggressive framing of tragedy.
“There was traffic in Austin when you gave yourself up to the crushing release of a car,” Boucher starts off yelling. What’s remarkable about Boucher’s songs is that he never off-handedly condemns or dismisses those that may choose to end their own life because he’s had those same thoughts too — “I understand why you’d want to take it all away,” he screams unintelligibly — but he expresses the sadness and loss and emotional wreckage of those left behind so potently that he makes it feel like a completely unfathomable option. That makes for some powerful music. Listen below.
12/09 Pomona, CA @ VLHS
12/16 Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits
12/17 Brooklyn, NY @ Shea Stadium
12/18 Cambridge, MA @ Democracy Center