Here is an album about change – a perceived uncontrollable change and the despair at seeing the world around you crumbling. Singer Sam Treber’s anger at gentrification of his hometown Pittsburgh is put in longing terms; he misses hearing a neighbour sing through the wall who has since been priced out of the area. While others complain he should write songs about lost love and friends, he can’t see past the cracks in the ceiling growing larger, nor how capitalism swallows up communities into desirable postcodes. It is touching without jingoism, heavy with personal reflections as Treber chants, “everything I love in Pittsburgh is quickly vanishing”.
There is a conscious connection between his hometown and the wider world, in titles such as “Fates Worse than Death, Pt. II: Anthropocene”.
Newscaster samples in the background stating that, “it’s 110 degrees and getting hotter” are clear, a reminder of the increasingly inescapable climate crisis. Oscillating between US underground indie, melodic post-rock and gestures of emo, the sense of impending terror of change is palpable, but Short Fictions ends with a feeling of hope.
This optimism drives the lyrics past miserablism and to a call for something more honest and true.