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I’ve always felt that the best music is the music that makes you feel something. Sure, hearing an upbeat chord progression and jovial lyrics can be nice if you’re only looking to dance, crack a smile or have fun. But I can connect with music harder if I can sit down and let it stir out deeper emotions; perhaps even have it produce a tear or two from me as well. And it’s kind of connection that sums up my experience with the new EP from Melbourne’s Aburden, ‘The Last Goodbye‘.
This release is one of the most emotional musical experiences I have heard all year, personally. It tugs right at the heartstrings damned hard, and at times, can be a really intense listen. Yet this is precisely what makes this EP so affecting. It’s hard not to hear the words that either of the band’s two vocalists – screamer/spoken-word-vocalist Mason Forster and guitarist/clean singer Kyle Burrows – speak and sing, and not be affected in some way. (Some people out there may be bothered by the contrast in Mason’s Aussie-tinged vocals and Kyle’s American singing accent but I didn’t mind it at all myself). From that, the pair’s heart-wrenching lyricism of deep loss and personal growth is then backed by up a sheer chorus of smooth-sounding, well-produced instrumentals. A great backing that creates a dark, gloomy musical mood that matches the lyrics and sticks within the confines of your ears and chest long after the EP ends.
One great thing I noticed about ‘The Last Goodbye‘ is that you can’t quite pin just one genre to it. At times, it sounds like melodic hardcore but then will transition into alternative rock, atmospheric post-hardcore, and even emo realms at the flip of a switch. And at all times, it’s great! The music behind the words is also emotionally driven and well-thought-out too, with occasional ambient parts, electronica elements and gorgeous pianos sprinkled throughout to really push that darker tone even harder. This is evident in the introductory song combo of ‘My Best Friend‘ and ‘Sorry.‘, which are both filled to the brim with the beautiful cadences of soft pianos, melodic guitars and passionate vocals. This is a trend that shines throughout the EP and is a welcome addition at each and every point.
One awesome aspect of the songwriting within ‘The Last Goodbye‘ is that most of these tracks contain a heavier climax towards the end of their structure; often creating an emotional high point full of energy to close out each piece. This is especially evident in the likes of ‘Don’t Say‘ and ‘Need You‘ their final moments wrapping the songs up in a large bow as a final gift to the listener. Despite being a young band as people and as a collective, Aburden are really displaying greater ideas and musical strengths beyond their own years. And it’s paid off them swimmingly!
While the music is fantastically written on ‘The Last Goodbye‘, perhaps the best aspect of the record is the heartbreaking lyrics that resonate throughout its entirety. It’s an EP dealing with mental illness and grief, of losing people in life and struggling with mental health issues exacerbated by those loses; grief over losing loved ones, friends, relationships, and even our former selves. The loss of Kyle Burrows‘ grandfather before the creation of this EP is a clear influence upon the lyrics and even the EP’s artwork itself. (As I’m told by the band themselves, the title of ‘19‘ specifically refers to the date, 19/6/2016, the day that his grandfather sadly passed away).
Feeding into this, the most emotional line of the whole EP comes from ‘19‘, when Mason chokes back tears as he states: “my love, you never died to me, you simply became my music. I’m so sorry for the things I never said. I forgot to say that I loved you.” This is the kind of resonating line that hits damned hard with the very real trauma of death someone we love; of never being able to physically talk with them again after the fact but then trying to immortalize them in our memories, our lives, and even in our own works. A heart-breaking experience that Aburden’s latest EP sums up and expresses so thoughtfully and passionately across its seven tracks. (Eight if you count the “hidden” closer of ‘My Old Friend‘, a fitting call back to their debut EP).
‘The Last Goodbye’ is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster; this EP will leave some kind of mark upon most listeners that come into contact with it. It’ll take you up to great heights and then right back down to emotional lows, sometimes making you want to crawl into a corner and just sleep away the pain. This is Aburden growing up as musicians and as people but also facing personal demons and traumas as well. Whilst setting them down a path of discovering their own sound and ambition. I loved this EP, and I sincerely hope that you reading this do too.
My Best Friend
One For You
To The Sky
My Old Friend
‘The Last Goodbye’ is out now.