By: Hope Ankney
If there’s one word that could sum up Philadelphia-based group No Thank You’s sophomore effort, it’d be the word Catharsis. All It Takes To Ruin It All is an emotional release and purification process that almost clears the conscious by its end. It’s no doubt there’s an outpour of honesty and rawness that emits from the LP as most it was written after lead vocalist Kaytee Della Monica’s father passed.
At just ten songs with half the album not making it past the two-minute mark, it shows how remarkable music can still be when it’s inflated with content but played on the shorter side. The intensity and release of tension that is felt pumping through the veins of this album chronicles Kaytee Della Monica’s disrupted life as she struggles with relationships and her own peace of mind after her father’s passing. It feels as if one is swaying through the conscious of the group as the songs melt into one another- peering into the different stages of grief and mourning they experienced.
Even with the heavier subject matter at hand, All It Takes To Ruin It All does provide an interesting and largely upturned musicality as the record highlights upbeat indie pop blended with the sonically charged rock of the 90’s. Many of the songs feature only one hook or a chorus, at most, before scattering on to other thoughts with less structure relating it to the blips of brightness one feels while experiencing the peaks and valleys of mourning.
It’s difficult to say that “Veranda” isn’t the standout to No Thank You’s album. More an audio recording than a song, the track hits hard as the listener hears a voicemail of Della Monica’s father that he presumably left her. Very bold and tender, Veranda is actually an experience, not a song, that leaves glassy eyes and red noses each time it’s played, having the listener not only immerse themselves further in the catharsis of the record but to think deeply about those that are important to them as well.
All It Takes To Ruin It All might not be the easiest album to take on, and it might be an album that is saved for certain occasions, but it is definitely a piece of art that is worth absorbing. It’s more than commendable to release something this personal and this unrefined, and it should be praised for the strength it represents. It’s a purging of emotions that can sometimes make us heal faster, and to have a record that revolves around such an event yet attempts to find ways to push forward, it is worth taking note of. No Thank You’s ability, at the end of the album, to have one feel and then feel again will be the sophomore effort’s key to longevity.