Words: James Frostick
Image: Ela Stiles
Grizzled rock outfit Deaf Wish are back, baby! After pummelling eardrums with 2015’s Pain, the group have announced a new long player by the name of Lithium Zion. The first single from the album – ‘FFS’ – is a blistering hurly-burly reminder of the band’s potent disquiet, with an empowering outburst that seems to say that no matter how many times you get knocked to the dirt, no one can bury you.
For fuck’s sake. It’s a common remark often uttered in moments of frustration or exasperation. A parking ticket, a spilled drink, a date blown off at the last minute – it’s suitable for a lot of situations, big and small. It’s an exclamation – one we prefer to keep bottled up but sometimes pressure builds and the lid just pops off. ‘FFS’ by Deaf Wish is the sound of that eruption – a furious cry of vexation set to a bruising heavy rock soundtrack. It’s the first cut from the band’s upcoming album Lithium Zion (out soon through the storied Sub Pop label) and marks the band’s first activity since the release of previous effort Pain. In typical Deaf Wish fashion, ‘FFS’ packs a wallop. Its blustering plume of diesel-fuelled rock features the band’s signature hallmarks, a weighty spray that is as relentless as it is furious.
The song features guitarist and vocalist Sarah Hardiman providing the words, and it seems like we catch her at wit’s end – a tipping point. Her feelings have been stomped on and kicked around and, understandably, she’s fucking sick of it. Shitty dates, half-arsed text replies, inevitable heartbreak – Sarah’s sick of the rodeo and giving her time to those that don’t respect it. There’s only so many times you can wear your heart on your sleeve before the sleeve gets dirty. After enough of these interactions, it’s easy to distance yourself from harm by simply shielding your emotions – advice Sarah’s received before.
“My friends say F.F.S. / guard your heart, it’s not a target for love / keep it, Sarah, you’ll need it”
Despite the unending frustration at having your heart kicked around in the dirt and having your “feelings nailed to the ground“, the song seems to indicate that no matter how much shit is piled on top of you, getting back up is better than being buried alive.
“Ah you dig your way out of dirt / I’m not dirty, I’m not hurt / buried, I’m not buried”
Romance is a mug’s game, but it’s a game we play because we believe it to be a worthwhile exercise. Maybe it’s a numbers thing. Something will come good eventually. No matter how you play it, getting knocked around is part of the deal, and so is taking the hits and standing tall. Sarah acknowledges that nothing will be solved by staying down. We have to get back up. For fuck’s sake – it’s our only option.
Lithium Zion will be released through Sub Pop on Friday July 27. Pre-order the album now.
Read my 2015 interview with Deaf Wish’s Jensen Tjhung here.