“The Affliction of Romance:SeeYou[InMySadLittleSceneAlienBoyHeart]SpaceCowboy<3” A Music Review, First Published in Hyphenpunk (2021)
Rather than collapsing into the space of forgotten-about relics immediately uponconception, scene-revival band “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” delivers the much-needed grand finale to yet another apocalyptic year: their newest album, The Romance of Affliction. This new release includes features from Keith Buckley of “Every Time I Die,” independent artist SHAOLIN G, Aaron Gillespie of “Underoath,” and “If I Die First.”
In the first track, “Life as a Soap Opera Plot, 26 Years Running,” “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” and Keith Buckley hit the ground… well, running. Keith Buckley’s high, chaotic energy paired with “SeeYouSpaceCowboy”’s scene sound meld together for an opening equal parts unhinged and melancholic.
Following this, we get two wholly “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” songs (“Misinterpreting Constellations” and “The End to a Brief Moment of Lasting Intimacy”). Here, “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” inflicts themselves beautifully, independently, and unapologetically upon the album, setting the groundwork for all that is yet to come. Moreover, they streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetch themselves artfully across the canvas of these two tracks, covering the notorious in-betweenness that so often comes with deep affliction.
Then comes the album’s next fully unhinged checkpoint: “Sharpen What You Can” (featuring SHAOLIN G).
This song is especially worth noting because SHAOLIN G is a lesser-known, hybrid,instrumental, experimental hip-hop, low-fi artist. As a result, “Sharpen What You Can” brings with it a unique resonance that successfully blends authentic “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” sound aesthetics with SHAOLIN G’s cutting-edge style.
Next, we get the purely “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” “With Arms That Bind and Lips That Lock,” “Losing Sight Of The Exit,” and “… and My Faded Reflection in Your Eyes”. Here, “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” boasts momentum and spits it back out in a torrential soundpour of madly metallic splendor. This is about the point when I became grateful collateral in “SeeYouSpaceCowboy”’s raw, eclectic, musical warpath, and determined once and for all that this band is a marvel all their own.
The collaborative songs in the final stretch of the album with Aaron Gillespie (“Intersecting Storylines To The Same Tragedy”) and If I Die First ( “The Romance of Affliction”) were nothing short of immaculate, satisfying, and altogether exhilarating. These, for me, function not only as inevitable reminders of the horrific, psychosomatic nature of “romance,” but also of the ingenious, steady 13-track sickening that takes this album from merely wonderful to genuinely exceptional.
Individually, each of the artists on this album is otherworldly. Together, they become indestructible. Between the collaborative tracks in the second half of the album, as well as the purely “SeeYouSpaceCowboy” ones, we are fed an exquisitely rotting, auditory scene-kid sandwich of noxious infatuation and perpetual despair. The affliction is very much present, as is the romance — and that’s the best way to describe how each of the tracks and artists on this album interact both among and, simultaneously, within themselves.
Collectively, all the cuts of this album inflict their wondrous afflictions upon internalities all their own, as well as each distinctive other. As a result, “SeeYouSpaceCowboy”’s newest release epitomizes that grueling “romance” between the mind, soul, and predictably excruciating environments we are all made to endure.