There are instances in heavy music where lyrics can’t measure up to the presence of instrumentation when it comes to connecting with the audience, and I think this is the case with Go to Space Die’s new album Red Air Don’t Care. Rather than tasking a singer with the difficult challenge of breathing life into songs like “Sheets” and “Way Up” through little more than lyricism and melodic wit, drummer Dagan Thogerson is intent on using nothing more than his instrumental prowess to make the audience feel everything he’s feeling in this tracklist – to some mighty fantastic results, I should add.
Thogerson doesn’t mind taking his time in Red Air Don’t Care, including when it comes to the racing rhythm we find in sections of “Threes Away” and “Queen D,” two of my favorite songs from the album. Go to Space Die doesn’t live by the percussive stylings of its sole member alone, but instead ties together melodicism with brawn through progressive-minded song structures in tracks like “Air and Land” and “Rollaway” that you don’t usually find among the poppier stations on the FM dial. This is for the discerning listener, above all others, in my opinion.
The pressure on the guitars gets to be almost overwhelming in “Jumpinthelake” and “Spring Ahead,” but I can understand why Thogerson needed it to be this way for these two tracks. For all of the distortion-laden excess produced on the melodic end of the mix here, there’s a thin, ultra-bleached tone from the percussion that almost makes the grooving a little crunchier than it needs to be, creating a violent, whirlpool-lie effect that draws us into the music with every bar we listen to. This is the definition of concept songwriting, and Go to Space Die has mastered it in the project’s very first effort.
There’s a very understated romantic edge to “Threes Away” and “Way Up” that I wouldn’t mind hearing this artist experiment with and explore a little more the next time he decides to make an addition to this side project’s discography, as he’s got the skillset to be a bit more versatile than a lot of his contemporaries can be. With an instrumental record, there are no rules to impede the development of an idea, no matter how outrageous or ambitious it happens to be, and I want to hear everything that Red Air Don’t Care is made of on a higher level in his sophomore LP.
This isn’t your typical post-rock release, but one that feels like a boundary-pusher in an era that has seen fewer and fewer rebels with each passing day. I’ve got a good feeling about what Dagan Thogerson is doing in this album, and if there’s anything we can learn about the potential future of Go to Space Die just from listening to the tracklist of this initial offering, I think it’s that the sky is the limit when you have the talent, the tone, and the tenacity to chase ideas that a lot of other musicians would consider too brazen.