Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Cry Club’s Heather Riley – 100 gecs’ ‘1000 gecs
Not to sound dramatic, but the first time I listened to this album, I genuinely cried. I’ve you’ve come into contact with anything by 100 gecs, I maaaaaaybe sound a little crazy right now (totally fair) but the impact this strange, noisy, glitchy album had on me was ridiculous. I had my first taste on Snapchat of all places, mindlessly tapping through Vice’s snapchat stories in June 2019 when a snippet of that screeching, hooky chorus of money machine grabbed my attention. It possessed me; if I didn’t listen to the album right this second I thought I might die. It didn’t disappoint, and I’ve had it on high rotation for over a year now.
I was dealing with so much at the time, anxiety and undiagnosed ADHD meant I felt scattered, bored, tired and scared every day of my life, and along came something that feels tailor-made to deliver dopamine to my brain. Coming to life with a gasp on 745 sticky, the album barely gives you room to breath or think, save for the tense interludes of I need help immediately and the beginning of gecgecgec. It grabs you by the ankle and swings you through bursts of dreamy, introspective pop, black metal, ska, and dubstep, never once apologising for the way these elements all smash together. I cried so much listening to it, because it felt like the first time I could show people what it felt like to be in my head. Everything happens so fast, sometimes it feels like I’m not in control of the rapid pace at which thoughts and emotions fly through my brain and body, but at least now I can point to something that simulates that experience.
At no point is the rapid genre flipping compensating for, or hiding flaws somewhere else: the lyrics can be simple and direct, but just as much of a gut-punch as the metallic snare. Ringtone leads you through the giddy digital high of incessantly texting your crush, that pavlovian dopamine hit of associating a person with their custom little tune, then burns it all down at the end declaring, “Used to love that ringtone when you call me, now it makes me sick”. The final (and my favourite) track, gec 2 Ü, is almost sickly sweet, filled with those small observations that seem mundane but are so precious in the moment: “Dishes are piling up, but that’s cool ’cause at least we got food. Yeah, everything is piling up but that’s cool, that’s cool ‘cause at least I got you.” The album is full of these moments of rawness that allow the absurdity to hit even harder. Life is hard right now, it doesn’t make sense a lot of the time, but we still have these brief windows of joy and love that are more important than ever.
As a trans person, I found a comforting euphoria in the way vocalist and producer Laura Les described the heavily affected vocals on the album. The extreme pitching, autotune and glitching of her vocals represents a version of herself she can be happy with, and someone she’s happy to share with the world. The production is not just an aesthetic choice, but self-affirming. Being trans is hard, but it makes you inventive and creative with your art, and you can turn something that hurts into something that uplifts you and brings you joy. It’s not for everyone, but for the people like me who are drawn to the sound, it’s eye-opening to realise that you can use every part of the production to tell the story, and to create the version of yourself you can love. Despite how harsh and loud 1000 gecs is, it’s my happy place, a weird kind of zen. I love it endlessly and will keep loving it for a very long time.
Cry Club‘s debut album, ‘God I’m Such a Mess’ is out now. The album reflects on their journey as a band and is a collection of songs that have built their career. At the core of their music is the concept of using theatrics, drama, and genre-bending to tell a more truthful story. “We’re an open book, and so is this album,” say the band. ‘God I’m Such a Mess’ was produced by Gab Strum (Japanese Wallpaper) and mixed by Scott Horscroft (The Presets, Silverchair). Listen here.