The intimacy of listening to a piece of music captured on a 4-track is always so difficult to put into words. On one hand it seems like the listener is getting a private look into the genuine feeling behind what is recorded. And on the other hand you can’t help but feel like you’re looking in on something so personal that you wonder how long it’s okay to peer in on.
Do You Really Love Me?, the first album from Deb Edison’s six-piece project The Submissives, is the latest output to dangle on this balance beam of raw, individual expression for others to participate in. As Edison told Noisey in an interview, the purpose of The Submissives is to express herself post-anger and post-turmoil while, in her words, letting the boys have it. She achieves this with a steady hand of biting wit and satire.
You hear this peppered throughout, and it turns the stomach a bit each time, but the uncomfortable nature of these sentiments provoke thought while hopefully heightening awareness to these issues. “Just Tell Me” is a warped track with Edison succumbing to the psychosis of attempting to be and do what someone else desires. She robotically delivers a take on standardized gender roles on “Perfect Woman,” and it’s immediately followed by “Forces” smacking around the idea of women being crazy.
Squarely within the Montreal artist’s crosshairs is relationship, but, as the project’s name indicates, there’s an aura of submission and acceptance of things gone by. Album opener “Do You Really Love Me?” drifts down lightly onto the listener before asking the song’s title question in a rather straightforward manner. She has a feeling she knows the answer, but she’s willing to give the partner a fair shake to give an answer. “Maybe Someday” goes after the hard world of maybes where Edison straightens her back. Maybe she’ll be around later on, but maybe not. The rattling noirish guitar of the single adds to the mysteriousness of it all. Then “Boys, Boys, Boys” helps things reach a fever pitch by her addressing the ridiculous shit boys can put people through as she plays it cool in order to impress someone for silly reasons.
On an album that features fifteen tracks, it’s hard to delve too deeply into how intricate these things flow together, but we’d feel foolish not mentioning songs like “Dream Life” and “My Guitar.” The former is almost like a record playing in reverse while acting as an interlude before the springs and mechanisms holdings things together begin to pop out. The latter opens with a monologue that is an ode to her guitar, and she uses that guitar as a voice when she has none. Giving human traits to the guitar is okay for Edison considering what the guitar has done for her.
It’s a bit fitting the album starts to wind down on “Tell Me Why,” which feels like that slow dance song where you know things are about to split. A connection is being searched for, but there’s no answer on the other line. You can picture the last kiss goodbye a little too clearly. That’s when it’s time to make sure the album is on a loop for when it does wrap up. Pick it up from the Fixture Records bandcamp, and you’ll get see what it’s all about.
14.09.2016 / By Joey Smith