Album Review // PICTURESQUE ‘Do You Feel O.K?’
“Nothing we write is formed in the traditional way”, says vocalist Kyle Hollis from Picturesque, and this refusal to be boxed in is certainly one of the main excitements of the band’s newest album Do You Feel O.K?
Do You Feel O.K? certainly feels like a very apt question to be asking at the current moment, and Picturesque have managed to tackle a plethora of potential responses with their newest album. Navigating through themes of melancholy, romantic difficulties, alcoholism and mental health with nothing held back, the album offers insight into some of the brutally honest truths that the band has had to confront. Vocalist Kyle Hollis confesses, “Drinking until you feel like a piece of shit, feeling sad for no reason and losing your grasp on reality are all subjects that rear their head here”. However, there’s a comfort to be found within this shared struggle and the way in which Picturesque have managed to build a connection with fans upon this is one of the pertinent features of Do You Feel O.K?
A prime example is Swipe, where the band lays bare the despair that can arise from an unreciprocated romance, a problem exacerbated by the modern dating scene where casual flings and ghosting are commonplace. Kyle reveals the darker truth that inspired the track, confessing, “After my last relationship ended – we’d been together for six years and were engaged – I got lost in the world of modern-day dating. Everything had changed so much; being faced with platforms like Tinder was a shock to the system and I didn’t know how to navigate it. I wanted a relationship, but I quickly realised that I was looking in the wrong places. The whole experience messed with my head.”
Titular track O.K? offers a lyrical catharsis in its depiction of the inner thoughts and demons that we all grapple with. Dominated by searing vocals, there’s no shying away from the overpowering emotions of self-hatred, and you’ll be drawn in by the perceptive depiction of feelings that we’ve all experienced but struggle to capture. The theme of personal fragility continues into Glass House but takes a more external facet as feelings of anger are re-directed outwards in Pray. The volatile sentiments that shift between tracks reflects our own mental states, and this sensitivity towards feelings that are far too real makes Do You Feel O.K? an ally to turn to when we feel unable to comprehend and make sense of our internal thoughts.
Complemented by the band’s refusal to be pigeon-holed into one genre, the album also shines in its progressive melodies that draw upon influences across the board. This was a conscious effort from the band, as highlighted by Kyle, “The first record was our take on 2009 post-hardcore, whereas this album is something new, and it’s a style of music I’ve not heard anyone else make. Approaching Do You Feel O.K?, we reached a point where we just thought, ‘Fuck it, we’re not going to box ourselves in – we’re going to focus on writing killer songs, no matter what they sound like.’ You can hear that attitude throughout the record.”
Opener Necessary and ensuing ATTN: highlights the more post-hardcore roots of the band with guitar melodies so forceful they could make the ground shake, whilst a hip-hop trance is induced in Swipe and continues to grip in Crimes. However, finale Day By Day is heartbreakingly tender, and sails closer to being a ballad rather than anything else previously found on the album. Do You Feel O.K? might be a big question to ask, but Picturesque have done a mighty job of breaking this down, and reassure us that no matter what your answer is, your feelings are valid.