Melancholy is easy. It’s the default emotion of indie rock. Languor is hard and grown up—melancholy infused with self-awareness. Being able to identify and depict the mundane with a sense of hope and charisma is a feat that requires maturity and understanding, and one not necessarily required to make a totally pleasant record. .
Boreen’s upcoming album, Friends, extracts motifs from a variety of genres without ever feeling recycled or played out. While Boreen could sonically be categorized as dream pop, that title to me implies lackluster songwriting and haze, when O’ Sullivan’s lyrics are vivid and narrative. My parents once found a collection of newspaper clippings, photographs and handwritten notes in the walls of my childhood home, dated ambiguously but clearly stashed decades before our moving in. Listening to Friends evokes a similar feeling, a timeless sense of connectedness with a musical artifact, one that is heavy with recollections big enough to project yourself onto but specific enough to imbue intrigue.
“A lot of the time indie lyrics can be vague, and it’s hard to connect with them because it doesn’t really seem like they’re about anything. So to sort of combat that, I force myself to be really straight forward and tell real stories about people I know.” Friends fully displays O’Sullivan’s songwriting prowess, with lyrics covering everything from mortality to working at an amusement park. He pairs these existential vignettes with samples of friends and family speaking, field recordings or other samples relevant to the song. Combined with a full rock foundation Friends is a multi-tiered and complex scrapbook of memories and sound. The album stirs up darkness thematically, but uses catchy hooks and indie/pop sensibility to leave listeners hopeful and looking upward.
On Friends, O’Sullivan’s wistful melodies and production are coupled with lyrics that articulate a special kind of youthful, suburban despondency–mystical and magnetic, even in all its familiarity. With Boreen, O’Sullivan is writing his name in the foggy window of dream pop and indie rock.
– Emma Burke