Vinyl LP | 2023 / US – Original | New
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‘Crispy Crunchy Nothing’ puts to rest any notion Madeline Link had about finding the end. Burnout, dead-end jobs, bike theft, stress dreams, heartbreak — Packs move forward through them all one line, one lick, one beat at a time, equal parts Alex G’s whimsy and Helvetia’s thunderous dynamics. Sticking together songs written in Toronto, Ottawa and Mexico City (while Madeline completed a papier-mâché residency), Crispy Crunchy Nothing revisits the fuzzy alt-rock of 2021 debut Take the Cake and adds some folksy twang to the mix for an album that explores the tension between independence and isolation, between living life to the fullest and feeling like you’re wasting your time. Influenced by country-tinged contemporaries like Renee Reed and Angel Olsen and Madeline’s lockdown-era listening sessions with her dad, of albums by Hank Locklin and Hank Williams. Crispy Crunchy Nothing is heavy, and Madeline makes little effort to hide the depths of her feelings. But after the rain, flowers peek up from the soil. “Laughing Till I Cry,” a reject from a commercial, recalls fond memories of spending time with her sister: “Sometimes, I feel like life is on my side.” And “Always Be a Kid,” jangling and swaying with the Nashville guitar in the foreground, keeps her chasing those smaller Matryoshka dolls, looking for companionship but settling for herself in the meantime. “So now, I feel alive,” she repeats, over and over again. And by the end, it sounds like she’s starting to believe it.