Pockets of despair counter blistering confrontation in deli girls's most vulnerable release yet.
In recent years, deli girls has taken the lead in New York's exciting noise scene. The duo of Danny Orlowski and Tommi Kelly first turned heads with 2019's I Don't Know How to Be Happy, which was home to the pulsating, rage-happy single, "Abortion." But the vitriol that fuels deli girls' music is not without good cause. Beneath that mixture of anger and boundless wit lies a vulnerable commitment to speaking out against social offences as they see them, on levels both micro and macro.
Tinny production and a less-is-more aesthetic brought a DIY charm to their earlier releases, but on BOSS, deli girls is refined, bringing in a widened stylistic lens. During live sets, Orlowski often holds court with her abrasive, self-assured demeanor. But here, she finds herself in the deep end, her voice often transmuting into whimpers or emotive growls. There's a transportive tension between these moments of utter despair and bursts of combative momentum. This is perhaps best exemplified in "motherless fuck," which pendulates between post-emo Amnesia Scanner electronics and barreling power chords. The experience is like witnessing someone's emotional processing in real-time.
Most tracks play out like bibles of social ethics. In "loaded gun", Orlowski howls, "Your diagnosis is not a loaded gun/You're not the only one," the track a scathing critique of someone using jealousy to fuel unaccountable behavior. At times off-puttingly playful, "feedback/failure" orients around what sounds like a distorted, pitched-up vocal sample and sparse, militaristic drums. The anthemic chorus, "It's feedback/Not failure/No need to put yourself in a jail yet!," challenges self-righteous entitlement. "barriers to love" bears the hallmarks of the acoustic-electronics of early Eartheater. Here, striking interplay between absolute gloom and the ethereal, Orlowski's corrosive shrieks find an unlikely but satisfying partnership with a twinkling harp.
The album's PC Music-leaning closer, "all the things i've done," is another heartrending track that might give deli girls' fans some pause. Aquatic vocals are swallowed in autotune, trembling pads buoy up galactic synths and Orlowski, her voice crackled as if speaking through the phone, lets out a visceral cry. It's a poignant reminder that even the most resilient among us are subject to profound heartache. Reckoning with ourselves at our lowest only gifts us greater power.
02. it's all in my head
03. no such thing as good and evil
04. motherless fuck
05. dick hurt
06. bad batman
07. loaded gun feat. LEECH
09. barriers to love feat. LEYA
11. all the things i've done