The newest single from Charlotte screamo and shoegaze artist sayurblaires, Portside’s A Funny Place, But You’ll Grow To Like It Here defies the music critic’s aching desire to attach a genre label to everything, it’s more of a musical whirlwind. While the striking dichotomy of the glittery pixelated synths and harrowing screamed vocals may ring a bell to those familiar with the digital screamo niche, assuming you know the song's endgame that early on would be a mistake.
For starters, the song deploys an array of entirely synthetic instrumentation that out-reaches the instrumental ambitions of many of Blaire’s contemporaries. The song’s first major transitional moment one minute in is marked by a rush of guitars and booming percussion that completely overpower the mix and feel more reminiscent of Parannoul’s Excuse than any typical lo-fi screamo endeavor. As the song works into its second half though, the presentation changes. The distortion starts to fade away and hearing the sudden purity of the mix perfectly signals the tracks shift into something less chaotic and more directly confrontational. But highlighting just the depth of the instrumentation would be selling the song short as that same measure of layering is applied to the vocals. Unlike the conflicting melodies you may be expecting to hear, sweeter sung refrains in the front of the mix are backed by distant shrieking screams creating an effect that highlights the emotional anguish seeping into every element of the song.
Portside is about something all trans people have spent time imagining, splitting yourself into two people in order to find your old self, and kill them. Even then the song doesn’t present an outpouring of pure rage, it’s about the journey to get there. At first, the lyrics almost seem at odds with the music. As the song goes on Blaire finds more and more determination to find and destroy old parts of herself which you’d think would come accompanied by a shift towards musical brutality, not away from it. But the song isn’t about finding motivation, it’s about finding clarity, and through that lens, it makes perfect sense.
The opening verse comes during the song's most dizzying musical dissonance, which makes the lack of lyrical assurance feel fitting.
“I feel like we’re under pressure
It feels like we’re overdue
If you focus on your methods
You’ll find you’re burning far too soon”
But as the sound of the song begins to come into focus, so does its intent, highlighted by this poignant lyrical moment.
“I watched you sink the titanic, I’m not diving in
I’ll watch you sink and you panic, cause you never gave a shit”
Fittingly, this dagger is followed by a declaration that is both impossible to misconstrue and unable to be ignored.
“I’m gonna kill you
I can’t wait till you’re dead
I buried your name with me
In hopes that you’ll pass”
Follow sayurblaires: linktr.ee/sayurblaires
Written By Lavander: linktr.ee/lavenderalexandria