The recurring theme throughout Get Well Soon’s music is a constant contrast between light and dark; good and bad; heaven and hell. The first clue is in the dark connotations behind the bands name, an illness not yet treated, no promise of recovery.
It’s an apt name for music that soars and glides to magical heights but has a dark core, always dragging the listener down to a grizzly melancholy. The man behind the music is Konstantin Gropper, a multi-instrumentalist with a background in classical music and a keen ear for more indie-based arrangements.
This musical juxtaposition is another part of the good/bad, heaven/hell fight that is strung throughout Vexations. The indie (to use that word in its loosest possible terms) pounding drums give a virile skip and bounce to much of the music, but the strings tear this mood away and direct the emotion with startling power. No stronger example of this could be found than ‘Senecas Silence’ with drums that hyperactively leap at you before being swept up in swirling orchestration that feels like an angry wind dragging the listener to the music’s unsettling home.
The contrasts seep into the lyrics too, ‘5 Steps 7 Swords’ whispers menacingly that “if we set sail now we’ll make it to heaven or hell before dawn”, while ‘We Are Ghosts’ talks of a “happy silence, so why so sad”.
There is no denying that Gropper has an amazing knack for creating huge songs that snake through massive highs and lows, like a rollercoaster of emotions. He does lose his way slightly with some of the slower songs that lack the physical punch of the aforementioned ‘5 Steps 7 Swords’, but at the same time a constant barrage could become exhausting. As a result Get Well Soon have created an album that is close to a perfect balance, but maybe some of the quirky ideas that are littered throughout the bigger songs could occasionally be sprinkled over softer numbers like the tired ‘That Love’.
But with that slight niggle aside, Vexations is a startling album and hopefully one that will give Get Well Soon the wider level of appeal that they now deserve.
Words: Adam Wilkinson