Published Apr 23, 2020In a world lurching from tragedy to crisis and back again on a weekly basis, the title of Wares' new album, Survival, is uncannily prescient. Yet the struggle illustrated on the band's second LP is a more personal one, detailing, among other things, the struggles faced on a daily basis by trans people like singer-guitarist Cassia Hardy.
The Edmonton quartet's music can broadly be described as indie rock, but they've always been difficult to pin down beyond that catch-all. Survival ups the ante, adding in electronic elements, classic rock riffing and a touch of alt-country's twang, bound together by a heretofore unheard grand eloquence.
Many have noted the similarities between Hardy's vocal mannerisms and those of Destroyer's Dan Bejar and with good reason — "Tether" sound like it could be a Rubies-era B-side. But the album thrives on a kind of dramatic tension foreign to much of Bejar's work. It builds a world populated by "decolonial activists, anti-fascist agitators, and prairie queers fighting for community and a better life," per the dedication in the album's liner notes. Through instrumental buildups or a pregnant pause in Hardy's eloquently delivered vocals, there is a deep sense of foreboding.
Rather than meet it with rage though, Wares find reasons to persevere. Hardy and her band have written an album that meets the daily crises of life head on, finding light in the darkness and the motivation to keep going. That victory was born out of a very personal fight, but with Survival, Wares make the personal universal. (Mint)