What does Tummyache sound like?
Top-tier DIY indie punk.
The review of tummyache – SOAK
Back in 2019, tummyache’s debut EP “humpday” was one of my favourite releases of the year. An impassioned punk-laden raw purge of emotion, I found it liberatingly honest and energising. Moving forward to 2022, “SOAK” is the debut album from tummyache. Moving slightly away from a wall of noise to something with more cadence and flow to suit a longer format, “SOAK” is a stunning debut just as honest and determined as her EP.
tummyache attacks different slices of punk and rock, with some being more visceral or melodic than others. The album opens in an explosive rage with “DIY!!” where Soren, the brainchild behind the name, shouts “the world’s not showing up for me” on repeat. It places you exactly in the shoes of the younger generation that has been gaslit into fake opportunities and a world that pulls the rug out from under them. Overworked, underpaid, disillusioned but still finding ways to move forward. These are the themes of the album and they pour out in different ways. In the stunning single “Alive Again”, the melodic guitar hooks and speedy drums slowly unravel into more off-kilter chord transitions. All the while tummyache repeats “I wanna feel alive”. It is a hypnotic stance and one that pops up in either both the visceral side of the album, or the more indie-rock edges like “Emotional Housekeeping” and “Porcupine”.
Delightfully, the range of rock available keeps you guessing. “Spinning Out” could have come from the best late 90’s alt-rock bands. Both anthemic and gritty, it gives me Curve vibes without ever sounding like them. “Teeth” is a chaotic blitzkrieg of fuzzy punk guitars and seaside chaos. There is also a grungy noise to the guitars throughout the album. This comes out best in the hazy moments where the undercurrent of the gazing is strong. “Knee Jerk” combines that guitar noise with tight riffs and disenchanted vocal delivery to perfection. “Managing Expectations” is two minutes of hard punk and power chords as Soren exclaims “I’m nothing but at least I’m trying”. The frustration is palpable.
One other undercurrent throughout the album is the use of voicemails. tummyache uses them for song transitions often before using them for large sections of “White Noise Machine”. The track is a worn and weathered alt-rock number with empty and desolate choruses and slow-motion tender punk choruses. Those looking for the wall of guitars from tummyache’s debut EP can rely on the superb title track. The outro is Placebo-esque in its gurgling guitar power. The album closes out with Skunk Anansie styled “Socialite”. The arrangement is lighter and less grungy than the rest of the album but oddly sounds more bedroom rock because of its cleaner signal chain The fact the album was recorded in a backyard only adds to that style. Regardless, its one of those outro songs that feels like you’ve risen like a phoenix, anew to rage again.
Put simply, “SOAK” is my favourite rock album of 2022. It has been since release and it only grows larger and more impressive in stature with every listen. tummyache is able to bring the best from the alternative rock scene but place a 2020’s growth through pessimism spin on things. Utterly relatable and constantly memorable, this deserves every play and listen it can find. Superb.
Recommended track: Alive Again
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