Heartbreak and habbo hotel

- By Leslie Ken Chu

CUT YOUR TEETH IS THE FEARLESSLY PERSONAL DEBUT ALBUM BY VANCOUVER’S NECKING. Of their four members — singer Hannah Karren, guitarist Nada Hayek, bassist Sonya R and drummer Melissa Kuipers — all but Nada went through breakups while writing it. It stings like heartbreak, and is fuelled by all the self-pity, self-doubt and anger that comes with it. But ultimately, the album is about regaining one’s footing and sense of self.

Necking also vent about gentrifica­tion, power imbalances, virtue signalling and academia in a 22-minute demolition derby of turbulent, sharp-tongued rock. Contradict­ory emotions swirl throughout, disarming listeners and leaving them laughing without smiling, in a state of nervous,

paralytic confusion. Through it all, though, Necking maintain their sense of humour. Karren spits out self-care practices on “Go Getter,” including drinking less, abstaining from smoking and wearing earplugs.

“I’ve heard Melissa say that she thinks about the lyrics like a to-do list when she’s feeling bad,” Karren says with a laugh. But she laments the list’s futility. “Like, ‘I’m going to get it together. Today.’ And it never gets done.”

Necking get plenty done in “Habbo Hotel,” though, a song inspired by the members’ experience­s with the roleplay-based chatroom service.

Kuipers explains Habbo Hotel in nearly a single enthusiast­ic breath. “You go into different rooms, you can build your own room, you can furnish it, and you can invite people to do whatever you want... just like a real hotel. No one knows — except the moderators.”

She recalls a particular­ly vivid memory of Habbo Hotel from when she was about 12. “I remember logging on really early in the morning, meeting with the same person and chatting, and then going to church at 11 a.m., and sitting in church, and being like, ‘I can’t wait to get back home and log on and continue.’ And then I’m like, ‘I’m going to hell.’”

For her, checking into Habbo Hotel under a pseudonym and avatar borders on an existentia­l crisis. “Got a new name / Got a new face,” Karren sings, to which Kuipers says, “You hear that song start, and you’re like, ‘What is this identity crisis?’ And then it’s like, ‘Nope, I’ve just logged onto Habbo Hotel, and I’m just whoever I want to be.’”

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada