Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
You will feel like you've been through a lot at the end of a Des Ark record. Really, Aimée Argote makes you feel like you've been through a whole fucking lot after just one song. You're not just listening to one young lady's issues and problems - some that are about as serious, scarred and damaged as any that you'll ever hear - but they are pawned off as your own quickly. You're not really sure how it's possible, but in rapid succession, you're destroyed. You want to cry - hard. You want to curl up into a ball or you want to find the girl from these songs and tell her that you're so sorry, that you couldn't possibly known what she went through (even after hearing about it) and that there's certainly no way that you could be of much help at all, other than offering a hug and saying, "If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here." What you really want to do is have Argote sing her problems to you the same way she just did. You want her to sing to you in this vulnerable and hurt way, always. This is something that you want forever. It let's you feel that, by hearing these sad, no, super sad moments of life, in the way that she writes them, you might not ever go through anything half as serious. It's possible that every sort of relationship problem will feel like something so much smaller, so much less of an issue than what you just heard on "Don't Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker." Anything pales in comparison to the beautiful, but ugly episodes that Agote writes about. You just hope that if all of these stories are real that they at least even themselves out over time and that they don't all just hit at once cause that would be an unbearable tragedy. It would take a soul and it would darken it. The hurt that's gotten into Agote is stunning, a thing of genius, if there were such and accreditation given for such a thing. She should be marveled at for being able to operate at all, for the pain that she sings about is excruciating. It's enough to kill you and yet these are the lines to her pages. These are her babies. Someone who sings, "It's a given that you love her, but what would you think if you fucked her and she cried, 'Your love is poisoning me to death,' which is exactly what I meant when I said it/It's the only way I know to say I love you," as she does on the "Battle of the Beards" song, "Lord of the Ring & His Fascist Time Keepers," is poetic, but not in the least stable. She worries about the pain that she might pass along to any future children that she might have on a new song, "Peace To You Too, Motherfucker," "If I ever have a child and in her eyes I see the same kind of hurtin' that I have in mine/I know the devil don't come once/He came twice." Really though, there seems to be more beauty than hurt in Des Ark songs. The pretty parts stand out so much more. They grab you by the hand at the ends of songs and those pretty parts are the ones that you walk away with, silently, to think about what you're walking away from, exactly. You'll want to sit down soon though, it all just being too much to handle. You'll need a drink.