Having queer and People of Color members, Jacksonville based alt emo / post hardcore act GILT uses their platform as a way to listen and raise those voices for social change. While catchy, their new release “Ignore What’s Missing” on Knife Punch Records, tackles dysphoria, loss and societal pressure, and strikes the right chord, musically and emotionally. Today, we’re giving you a unique insight into this noteworthy release, with a special first-hand track by track commentary below!
‘Ignore What’s Missing‘ is an album arranged to rise and fall, blending moments of self-reflection, religious ideation, political rage, and personal grief into one continuous, uneasy ride. The songs give equal platform to slow crooning piano and piercing feedback, often overlapping under a blanket of equal parts spoken word and screamed vocals. This isn’t so much a dichotomy as much as an attempt at an organic conversation about big and small ideas about violent personal growth.
Ignore What’s Missing
Riding the line between somber and aloof, dreamy and heavy, this track is a very smooth easing into an otherwise violently emotional album. Perhaps aspirational, it’s repeated ‘let yourself be weak’ is the last attempt to have a calm, level-headed conversation before everything that’s been boiling below the surface erupts. The song focuses on admission of personal failings, with transparency. The calm tone is referenced in the hook, ‘You’re numb and calloused,’ which is followed immediately by the foreboding, ‘but you can feel it pressing.’
Intended to be a logical progression from the title track, Flowers strips the constant piano, darkens the bass, and hits the drop (which is structurally similar to IWM) significantly harder with a chaotic noise solo. While originally written as a protest song against censorship of AFAB bodies in media, including personal self-consciousness that may hold some back from feeling comfortable sharing themselves, the track takes on an increasingly aggressive tone, and instead of celebrating or supporting it’s righteous cause, instead turns antagonistic towards whoever may be preventing this progress.
Continuing where Flowers left off, Charity begins with a sarcastic remark about desacating your own body and then immediately widens the scope of the album’s venom to include (with a genre shift to almost explicit hardcore) indictments of faith culture. Telling well-meaning people that their outreach is simply a form of control, or that it dehumanizes the people it pretends to uplift can be a mouthful, which the band indulges with a layered almost sermon-style chorus over the first consistently ‘screamo’ vocals on the album, but it’s balanced out with the disarmingly simple mantra, “You can be honest, and still be wrong.”
When people say GILT is a punk band, Shelf is what they’re talking about. It’s an appropriately short, punchy track complete with hard stops and unrelenting vocal grit from both vocalists. Lyrically, this song is much more vague, as much of the album is, but alludes to being raised in and and trapped into unfortunate conditions, but being unable to escape because the root cause cannot be found. As a leaping-off point from Charity, this works as both an allegory for Christ as a sympathetic victim of his father, and general discussion of abusive relationships.
Numbers (ft. Night Witch)
If the album was a pot boiling over with Shelf, Numbers resets the mood at a simmer. Emo / shoegaze vocals atop steady rhythm build up with noise elements until the guest feature from Rosie Richeson of Night Witch delivers some of the most punishing vocals on the album, making much more direct reference to religious allegory like Eve being made from the rib of Adam during creation, and the process of gilding, from which the band takes it’s name.
Children Of Animals
At its core, Children Of Animals is a classic punk song, both in it’s immediacy, power chord slams, and malice towards traditional family values. What sets this character apart is that they aren’t a rebel, they have in fact done everything ‘right’ but are judged by the previous generation of former rebels for their softness. This is the paradox of, “Your generation just wants participation trophies” responded to with, “Okay well why did you give us those trophies then?”
Blue Ink Pen
Blue Ink Pen is the clear center of the album. While massively broad and abstract lyrically, the themes of self-criticality and rebuking religion remain, with new themes of loss added in the middle. Similarly, although the guitar is clear and chiming, this is one of the ‘noisier’ tracks that gives the overall sonic impression of radio or television static, furthered by the radio-dial and vocal sample that divides the track with the ominous, “Too little, too late.”
Sink And Tithe
Hitting the same sore spot of calling out fake egalitarianism as Charity, Sink And Tithe is notably more of a dialogue, with the dreamy chorus guitar and instrumental keys section in the middle at least attempting to give it’s targets some chance to reflect and realize who their ‘good works’ truly benefit. It makes a specific nod to current issues like ICE camps, corporate bailouts, and the ever-useless “thoughts and prayers” platitude.
You’re The Sun
Completely stripped of metaphor, this is a track about losing someone to the void. There is never a clear line between recreation, addiction, and a lethal dose. There is never a single or clear reason as to why someone feels they aren’t getting what they need from the world and seek to escape it. Providing no answers or criticisms like the other tracks, You’re The Sun simply grieves, “I’m sorry it turned out that way.”
What Color Is The Light When It’s Turned Off
One of GILT’s oldest tracks, What Color’s namesake is an allusion to the curiosity many have with death, which could be interpreted as attempting to sympathize posthumously with the character lost in You’re The Sun. Like Flowers, dislike of self is the spotlight topic here, and GILT (a gender / race / body type diverse band) have been vocal consistently at shows that this is about body dysmorphia and gender dysphoria.
Keeping some of the dancy pop-punk energy from What Color, Car Seat blends in straightforward hardcore with a much more aggressive stance on giving up and burning out. Considered as a trio with You’re The Sun, this is clearly the ‘anger’ stage of grieving. ‘Couldn’t think of a better place to die’ is presented like a group of mocking school children, almost immediately leading into the longest slamming break on the album, which offers plenty of room to vent.
I Didn’t Want You As A Mirror
Coming full-circle with self-reflection, the lyrics and delivery in Mirror are the opposite of the ‘numb and calloused’ mood from IWM. Everything laid bare over waves of building emotion and angst, this song seeks to reconcile the impossibility of fixing the past, and tries, with clear pains, to admit that growth can be possible, even in the wake of complete loss.