South West five-piece americansignlanguage. have made their studio debut with their harrowing EP, ‘I Exist’; tackling the sensitive yet important topic of mental health eloquently told through the spoken word of frontman, Adam Hyman.
Starting off with ‘Carte Blanche’, the EP wastes no time establishing the mood. From the distorted, minimalistic guitars riffs from Matt Miller and Seb Van Crugten, to Hyman‘s visceral spoken word and raw throated screams, there is a gut-wrenching melancholy which rings across the majority of this EP.
Instrumentally, the track is led by the two guitar parts which dip between the picked guitar riffs in the verses to thrashing power chords in the chorus, really assisting in creating a dynamically fluid track.
Penultimate number ‘Everything That Grows’ takes it upon itself to completely juxtapose the rest of this record. Introduced by a tonally clean, staccato, picked lead guitar part, light, underlying cymbal work from drummer Lloyd Owen, and the playful use of a bongo in the background of the mix, it’s immediately clear that this offers a brighter tone than its predecessors.
Lyrically, Hyman takes us through his experiences of speaking out about his mental health, and the feeling of a lifting weight which came from doing so, the vocal performance even sounding more cheery and energetic. The group chanted chorus repeating the phrase “I’m still here, with a place to call home” works perfectly in summarising the song’s message, whilst also warming the heart with its sincere happiness.
americansignlanguage. have stated openly about their passion on ending the stigma regarding mental health, and on ‘I Exist’ they’ve certainly achieved that with a visceral take on the topic that any La Dispute and Hotel Books fans will be happy to sink their teeth into.