Fiddlehead - "Death Is Nothing To Us" Album Review by Gregory Adams for Northern Transmissions


Death Is Nothing To Us


When Fiddlehead started teasing new music last June, a fan on Instagram compared its arrival to being “like Christmas Day for the saddest people everywhere.” It’s a humorous, if self-effacing comment, and one that perhaps speaks to Fiddlehead’s reputation for delivering a particularly heartfelt and earnest kind of post-hardcore. Fittingly enough, the song in question was called “Sullenboy.” It’s an emo-adjacent pounder where vocalist Patrick Flynn hints at depressive moments, emotional burnout, and the existential threat of familial patterns (“I can’t repair broken records of family trees”). Those all play into the overall narrative of Fiddlehead’s third full-length release, Death Is Nothing To Us, but the Boston quintet’s exploration of such themes is nevertheless more nuanced than a single blue mood.

First off, the music doesn’t bear the aesthetic influence of a storm cloud. At 12 songs in just over 27 minutes, Death Is Nothing To Us is a punchy outing that sounds significantly more in-your-face and distortion-blaring than 2021’s Between the Richness. Its opening “The Deathlife” barely crosses the one-minute mark, the band working through chock-a-block surges of vibrant chord work and Flynn’s tuneful howl. “Sleepyhead” is a slick, yet aggressively melodic bop akin to the turn-of-the-century, post-hardcore popcraft of Rival Schools. The tunes generally run in-the-red, and even temporary sonic reprieves like the lean, bass-forward slink of “Fiddleheads” or the spacious guitar jangle of “Give It Time (II)” thrive off of the palpitated immediacy of drummer Shawn Costa — who had previously performed in cult hardcore crew Have Heart, alongside Flynn.

But lyrically, Flynn gets into the thick of it. Death and depression rear their heads countless times on Death Is Nothing To Us. How he reacts to those challenges alters track to track. “Sleepyhead” acknowledges those times when sadness and “endless suffering” grip you so tight that the only escape seems to be some serious shuteye; he revisits that stay-in-bed scenario on “The Woes,” but is fit to resolve this by finding comfort in others (“walk with me and I’ll walk with you out of our doom”). “Loserman” pins itself to how grief can leave you seeing “the world in a melancholic blue”. Above his bandmates’ propulsive, punky push, Flynn phrases the challenge of a new day with a bleak maxim: “Just get by and die”. Several songs later, “Fiddleheads” acts as a positive counterpoint, once again suggesting that we don’t have to face our struggles alone (“I don’t wanna just get by / Good thing I got my Ride or Die’s”).

Despite the cavalier title, Fiddlehead’s Death Is Nothing To Us doesn’t shy away from death, grief, and depression. Understandably, it sees these as inevitabilities. You can honour that sadness while still moving forward, though. For Flynn and Co., that transition might occur while plotting out a hardcore record with your friends. For a fanbase of sadfolk, Christmas has come a few months early, and that’s bound to put a smile on at least a few of your faces.

Fiddlehead tour dates:

Upcoming Shows:
08/18 Bangkok, Thailand @ Mr. Fox Livehouse
08/19 Singapore @ Aliwal Arts Centre
08/20 Jakarta, Indonesia @ Rossi Music
08/23 Brisbane, Australia @ The Zoo
08/25 Sydney, Australia @ Crowbar
08/26 Melbourne, Australia @ Howler
09/22 Boston, MA @ Royale #
09/23 New York, NY @ Webster Music Hall &
09/28 Chicago, IL @ Metro ^
09/29 Toledo, OH @ Ottawa Tavern $
09/30 Detroit, MI @ Edgemen $
10/01 Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace $
10/06 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
10/07 Los Angeles, CA @ Ukrainian Culture Center *
10/08 Ojai, CA @ Ojai Women’s Club *
02/17 Glasgow, UK @ Room 2 ~
02/18 Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny ~
02/19 Manchester, UK @ Canvas ~
02/20 Nottingham, UK @ Rescue Rooms ~
02/21 Bristol, UK @ Thekla ~
02/22 Southampton @ The Loft ~
02/23 London, UK @ The Garage ~
02/24 London, UK @ The Garage ~

& w/ Never Ending Game, Praise, Mary Jane Dunphe
# w/ Never Ending Game, Praise, Ankle Biter, Downtalker
$ w/ Restraining Order, GUMM
^ w/ Buggin’, Lifeguard, Restraining Order)
* w/ Fury, Kumo 99

Pre-order Death Is Nothing To Us HERE.


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