Something about the expert blend of the electronic and the analog and the natural sounds and the subtle production on tummyache’s new single “Commonplace” that help to highlight the experience of the conflicting emotions and confusion in sorting out the way life doesn’t give us signposts or a manual to the inherent meaning of it all. In part of the song Soren Bryce sings about how getting her name on her birthday was the first thing that belonged to her and that speaks directly to how one’s mooring in one’s own life can be that tenuous that’s its the one tenuous connection to your identity of which you can be fairly certain. As the song progresses it escalates into noisier, swirling chaos and frustrated screaming before ending with an abrupt fade. One gets the feeling from the song that part of having meaning in life is to feel special and not commonplace and part of that is having an identity and knowing your place in things, or at least a sense of such. As grow into adulthood the social boundaries become less distinct and our connections to people perhaps less firm and so we impose rituals to reconstruct these grounding associations even if they don’t make sense until we can no longer lie to ourselves and we begin to ask who we really are if we haven’t spent a good deal of our lives building that. And even if you do there will probably come a time when you realize it’s all coming apart and your sense of meaning in life erodes as well. This song captures being there in the moment of crisis from the initial sense that something is off to the psychic cacophony that comes from losing your sense of self and place. Listen to “Commonplace” on Soundcloud and follow tummyache on her YouTube channel linked below.
On “In Between,” Soren Bryce as tummyache really dives deep into what it feels like to be at the bottom end of your life and feeling helpless and lacking in the willpower to make it better and to help your friends. So you have to start with feeling better and hope that’s a rung on the ladder to better days. The swirl of guitar sparkling and humming to life is like the static and fog of emotions that are wrapped around you and they fade out for moments of clarity embodied by Bryce’s vivid vocals in which she confesses to being in a place of weakness and remorseful for having behaved badly and any acting out though unable to help herself at the time. The feeling of anxiety is so well articulated in the sense of being crushed and trapped by that feeling and not having control but yearning to transcend it because you have known a time in your life when it didn’t seem like your psyche was being smothered and wracked by an internal self-torturer. Bryce conveys perfectly how when suffering through those periods you have to snatch moments of feeling okay or comforted by small things because simply overcoming anxiety long term seems insurmountable and the work to get there overwhelming. It’s a song for soothing and exorcising those feelings with a wash of beautifully melancholic atmospheres and Bryce’s ability to demonstrate she’s been there and understands the crippling angst and emotional paralysis well.