Yes, I will admit that sometimes I will search up a musician just because their cover art or album title intrigues me. It’s a superficial method, but hey, I’ve stumbled across many of my favourite artists this way.
It happened again a couple days ago. Pitchfork did me a solid when I happened across the cover art for Des Ark‘s sophomore album Don’t Rock the Boat, Sink the Fucker along with a review (which I didn’t bother to read) while I was browsing the site for the first time in a long time.
Aimée Argote has been making music under the Des Ark moniker for a decade along with a rotating cast of band members throughout the years. Compared to the more jammy and abrasive punk-influenced rock the then-duo’s 2005 debut LP, Loose Lips Sink Ships, the sophomore effort is much more pristine and polished with mellow and introspective moments that are undercut by sudden bursts of instrumental clamour.
I’d describe it sort of like when you’re listening to Manchester Orchestra albums and there are quiet songs that focus on Andy Hull’s warbling lament and then suddenly there’s this intense break and it turns to a frenzy of energy and drums and guitar. The energy that Des Ark gives off is kind of like that. Argote isn’t a background music type of artist.
Song titles like “FTW Y’all!!!” and “If By Gay You Mean Totally Fucking Awesome, Then Yeah, I Guess It’s Pretty Gay” are highly entertaining and effectively attention-grabbing, but it’s Aimée Argote’s voice that keeps that attention.
[LISTEN]: Des Ark – “My Saddle Is Waitin’ (C’mon Jump On It)” (Live)
Vulnerable and quivering as she bends and stretches her syllables (which is especially evident in the album recording), she’s one of the artists whose tracks you need to listen and re-listen to just to decipher the lyrics and even then you’re never completely sure you’ve got them correct.
“Oh to be perfect for the ones we love. I gave it a shot, but I am not and I never was. If I keep dragging all these anchors across my scars, I ain’t never gonna heal at all.”
Argote’s completely upfront and honest, lyrically, so listening to “Two Hearts Are Better Than One” almost made me cry. (Granted, I’m a pretty sentimental person, but still.)
“I got this anchor on my finger now. I got your blood pumping through my veins and still somehow when I am with you, dear, I cannot breath. I gave my heart, but then you took my lungs from me”
[WATCH]: Des Ark – “Two Hearts Are Better Than One” (Live)