Donâ€™t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker
After more than a dozen years making music, Aimée Argote has found the right balance between scalding white-noise guitars and acoustic tenderness with Des Ark’s Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker. In the six years since her last full-length, Argote’s spent a lot of time touring the country, exploring the salty and sweet, the thundering and delicate. With Don’t Rock the Boat, they no longer are competing but intertwined.
The album’s centerpieces are “Ashley’s Song” and “FTW Y’all!!!” produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou. (Jonathan Fuller of Engine Down, Denali and Heks Orkest also produced four tracks.) The former is a harrowing loud/quiet gem whose prickly guitar tumult threatens to drown Argote’s vocals as she recounts a dream of a man twice her age whose “hands are cut like stone and I don’t know what he’s doing but he’s inside of me.” The latter is a paean to a failed relationship that turned into a best friend. After a dreamy intro (one of the album’s recurring stylistic tics), it takes off down halls of ringing guitars that recall Hüsker Dü in their loud creamy tunefulness. There’s a rushing anthemic exultance to the music as Argote’s boisterous vocals recount a failed queer/junkie romance that ends positively, thanks to their friendship: “It hurts like hell to go to sleep at night, but I know in the morning you will come in, tell me hey we’re gonna be alright.”
It’s a fitting synopsis for the album—the good and the bad like violence and tenderness are forever intertwined. In moving away from the compartmentalization (quiet song, loud song) Argote’s guitar-guitar-drum trio has fashioned an album of great grace, beauty and theatricality—but with some real balls at the same time (rather than at intervals). It results in some stunning combinations. Let’s hope the wait’s not so long for the next LP, because Des Ark have never sounded so captivating.