Fleshwater paint in broad strokes of alternative, shoegaze, electronic, post-hardcore, and off-kilter pop splashed against a tight sonic canvas awash in vibrant colors and visceral textures. Their songs unfurl with all the unpredictability of a living entity (and you can never quite put a finger on where they’ll go next). The moment you press play, it’s as if they appear in a rush of emotion, only to disappear back into a ghostly ether once the record stops.
As such, the Lowell, MA quartet—Anthony DiDio [vocals, guitar], Marisa Shirar [vocals], Matt Wood [drums], and Jeremy Martin [bass]—balance the intimate inhale of male-female harmonies with an overpowering exhale of distortion.
Now, they materialize in 2022 with nine songs on their full-length debut, We’re Not Here To Be Loved [Closed Casket Activities].
“It’s ambiguous,” notes Anthony. “It’s like the music is attached to the mood rather than lumped into a genre. There are so many different elements. Fleshwater is never one thing.” The band quietly emerged in 2020 with Demo. “Linda Claire” amassed 1.3 million Spotify streams under the radar, while Stereogum hailed the three-song set as “a cool piece of hazy guitar-trudge music.” Along the way, the musicians wrote what would become We’re Not Here To Be Loved and self-produced the album with Kurt Ballou [Converge] recording them. The band mined a kaleidoscope of influences, ranging from Hum, Deftones, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Far to Björk, and they ultimately arrived at an ethereal signature style of their own punctuated by gnashing grooves and anesthetizingly gorgeous vocal conjurations.
Barely cracking the one-minute mark, the single “Kiss The Ladder” pulsates with glowing guitar and Marisa’s hypnotic chant, “Now I don’t want to be anyone.” “Backstairs Breathing” begins with creaky clean guitar and melodic verses from Anthony. It gives way to an urgent refrain as both voices entwine, “Become a memory next to me.” A snappy distorted rumble underlines the insidiously catchy “The Razor’s Apple” catalyzed by Marisa’s gauzy, yet guttural delivery. It spirals past a head-nodding drum breakdown on the back of knife-point precise riffing. “It’s my favorite vocal performance by Marisa,” he adds. “We’re definitely excited to play it live." Crossing the five-minute mark, “Foreign” leans into a punchy riff as Marisa and Anthony lock into one last cathartic call-and-response on the chorus.”
In the end, Fleshwater are unlike anything you’ve ever heard—and it’s why the experience of listening to them will belong to you alone. “I want people to have their own experience with Fleshwater’s music and let it take them for a ride,” Anthony leaves off.
01. Baldpate Driver
03. The Razor's Apple
05. Linda Claire
06. Kiss The Ladder
08. Backstairs Breathing