You will never die. You will never die. Those are important words to remember as we head into a period of unprecedented political upheaval and social unrest — that our actions have consequences even after we’re gone, that we all have to make a conscious effort to fight for the future, even if it’s not ours to live. Nine Of Swords’ new album was recorded before the disheartening results of the presidential election, but the struggle that threads itself through these 13 songs — between acting as a voice of reason or staying quiet, between taking a risk or sitting back down — feels more urgent now than ever. “Everyone around me keeps fucking up/ Is it my job to correct them or do I keep my mouth shut?” Rachel Gordon asks on one track.
It plays out on a personal scale, like on “Two Step II,” which details a situation in which someone is getting credit for something without putting in the work — “You get a pat on the back for words others have used” — and on “Wild Strawberries,” which builds to a fervor over being silenced: “When you insist on speaking on my behalf, what am I supposed to say?” But it also takes on a more explicitly political bent: “Do you feel safe right now? When evil keeps repeating, that’s called insanity,” Gordon sings on “Composition #2,” a scream into the void about mass shootings that sees the world as increasingly isolated and paranoid, a society that puts self-preservation over the collective good. “When you act with your own interests in mind, you leave everyone behind.”
The music mirrors the message — it’s barbed, chaotic, and confused, restrained bordering on serene at points and overwhelming at others. The stunner here is “Snow III,” an intensely powerful track that sees the band flexing its range both musically and lyrically, showing off the interplay between both sides of their sound. Gordon sing-speaks over queasy drops and massive buildups, preaching a dogma of self-reliance and resilience that echoes throughout the rest of the album: “They tell me there’s nothing left of me, but I know who I am.”
You Will Never Die is out now.