Sometimes when you hear an album which wrestles with the issue of mental health, you get an overwhelming wish to just help that artist get through it, because you can’t see them doing it alone. Mess – the second full-length release from Adelaide duo The Hard Aches – feels different.
Maybe it’s the positivity that cracks through these sad songs like the morning sun through a closed blind. Maybe it’s the happy/sad backbeats which drummer Alex Upton litters throughout. Maybe it’s the band’s unashamed honesty.
The title track is a confident kick-off; while it touches on anxiety, long distance relationships and fatigue (emotional and physical), it doesn’t let the themes overwhelm itself. The back-and-forth between David and Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq on Happy is a starring moment, providing the loveliest and most wholesome duet you’ll hear this year – and just as final track Family feels it’s about to end, Maq busts in to send shivers down your spine again. Grinding My Teeth is a self-deprecating look in the mirror; On The Mend is far more triumphant: “I’m pretty down at the moment but I’m on the mend, I’ll come good again.”
Mess is for anyone who has ever hated themselves or their life, been fed up with their job or has missed their family, or who is battling mental or emotional pain. It’s okay not to be okay; let’s all get okay together.
Mess is out April 13 via Anchorhead/Warner.