For all of their fire, fury, and revolutionary antagonism, the Edmonton-based experimental rock band Wares have never quite seemed of this world. The band's founder and leader Cassia Hardy has an ear for the unnatural and a habit of slipping into alluring pop melodies without warning, often moments before tumbling down into chaos. And coupled with a desire to play a lot of things really fucking loud, Hardy often makes Wares' songs feel transcendent. Hardy's lyrics deal with trauma and disaster, but Wares' music either confronts them with wrecking ball of guitar noise, or offsets them with a piercing fragility. "It's places like this that take me away from the mess that I'm in," she sang on "Dirt" from the band's self-titled 2017 debut, articulating something that Wares usually leave unsaid.
Wares' second album, Survival — streaming above ahead of its April 24 release via Mint Records — builds on the euphoric punk of their debut while keeping a laser focus on the disasters at the core of Hardy's lyrics. "Survival is a story of recovery from past trauma, a non-linear path of healing and disruption," Hardy wrote in an email to The FADER. "I began that story with the recollection of an assault ('Hands, Skin'), to put the listener on my path as directly as I could. The lingering sense of alienation from that experience is meant to effect every subsequent story on the record, whether it's compounding feelings of distance and mistrust ('Tall Girl,' 'Violence'), or the relief of asking for help, communing with others, and apologizing when necessary ('Tether,' 'Jenny Says,' 'Surface World')."
Hardy insists, though, that the album finds a resolution — one both personal and revolutionary. "I wrote Survival as a hopeful album," she continued. "Sometimes I feel most at home in the more despondent and confused parts ("Complete Control," the title track), but for me there's always an effort upwards, towards a that feeling of fulfillment and trust in the world ("Living Proof," "Surrender"). The end goal of processing the past, and adapting to the self confidence that comes with that, is to join a wider community of healing people. Together, we can change the world, and destroy the bloodthirsty institutions that would keep us cowering."
Listen to Survival in full above and pre-order the album over at Bandcamp.