New York-based Mitski’s third album, Bury Me at Makeout Creek, has cut through the spring showers to make a stark emotional dent. An affecting performance in the rain at SXSW this year did just that, bringing Rolling Stone to call Mitski the “Best Case of Schizophrenia”, and listening to the stirring progression that is Bury Me at Makeout Creek, it’s easy to understand why. A master of the classic eighties and nineties “quiet-loud” dynamic, Mitski lulls you in with a volatile, dreamy lullaby, only to cascade into deep rips of noise and feeling.
The result is an enticing departure from Mitski’s previous work. While studying composition at SUNY Purchase’s music conservatory, she recorded with a full orchestra. And although she’s traded in the intricate string arrangements for guitar and bass, there remains a distinctly orchestral feel to Mitski’s waves of sound, from guttural screams to airy vocal slides and folksy balladeering.
Although radically diverse in tone, there’s a unifying thread that ties Bury Me At Makeout Creek together, and that’s a sly but assured pop-punk sensibility. Withheld at times and blatant at others, a studied love of pop-punk sounds informs the in-your-face lyrics, the slow lead-up to a driving guitar riff, and the euphoria and catharsis of its loudest moments. Although at times the sound seems more reminiscent of traditional folk, post-punk, or classic rock, there’s a gentle thread of nineties pop-punk that holds the diverse sounds of Bury Me At Makeout Creek together in one affecting, raw, satisfying package.
Bury Me At Makeout Creek has been met with international acclaim for its distinct, arresting sound and profoundly reflective lyrics. The wistfulness and anger intertwined in the lyrics will stay with you long after your first listen, as will the cathartic and catchy bursts that link the album together.