Above the Hope and Ruin, Brighton, a couple of months ago, I witnessed what is probably one of my favourite gigs. I decided to go two hours beforehand on a whim because Orchards, another great band, were playing. Until then, I’d never heard of itoldyouiwouldeatyou. All I could derive is that their long name pointed towards emo, which in turn, indicated that I would probably enjoy myself.
Last on the lineup, itoldyou spent the first five minutes of their set chatting with the audience as their guitarist was using the bathroom. They were charming, funny, and instantly likeable. When every member of the (huge) band were on stage, they began.
Their music is mathy and very emo – right up my street. They mix infectious, reverberating tapping riffs, with urgent, fast-paced drums, thoughtful lyrics, and the odd well-placed trumpet solo. Every member of the band is incredibly talented, and that comes across in music that is both technically complex but fun to listen to.
Given the size of the band (I counted seven total members), it’s hard for itoldyou not to feel like a community effort. Their openly political stance is refreshing, check out their latest single, Divine Violence, for lyrics such as “Blairites are centrist cowards” and “my boyfriend’s tough and he’ll beat you up”. The atmosphere at the gig felt supportive and friendly.
Their EP, I Am Not Your Fault, features five tracks, one of which, Less Now, is entirely instrumental. There are themes of struggles with mental health, sexuality, and relationships throughout. It’s an emotional but cathartic listen – the kind of music that makes you think ‘yeah, that was tough as hell, but I’m still here’.
A stand out track for me is Letters, a song that according to their lead singer (via Genius Lyrics) is “about forgiveness and taking responsibility for your own recovery for mental health issues”. The lyric “I am not your fault” is taken from a poem by Jos Anderson, and it is genuinely striking. It’s a lyric I tell myself often and it stays with me long after I’ve finished the track.
I hope itoldyouiwouldeatyou get everything out of their music that they need. I Am Not Your Fault is a beautiful record and I would strongly recommend going to a live show if they’re playing near you any time soon. Their next show is in London on October 25th at The Five Bells. See you there!
Photo credit to Ben Pollard via itoldyouiwouldeatyou’s facebook page.