Love in the Time of Email, the latest album from punk powerhouses Jeff Rosenstock and Chris Farren’s project, Antarctigo Vespucci, is full of moments that are tender, honest, and kind. Small vignettes from parts of life that we don’t always notice but that still leave a lasting impact in our minds. With opener, Voicemail, and closer, Email, to fill out the edges of the picture, Love in the Time of Email feels carefully painted. The synth riffs create melodic hooks that you can’t get out of your head. From the soaring choruses of the singles, White Noise and Freakin’ U Out, to the quiet, more introspective Lifelike and So Vivid!, this record handles dynamics with style. Bucketloads of style.
I first came across Antarctigo Vespucci after listening to Chris Farren’s most recent solo album, Can’t Die, and so was familiar with his dramatic and energetic lyricism and capacity to write amazingly catchy melodies and harmonies. Combine this with Jeff Rosenstock’s amazing ability to write music that is both extremely relevant (see January’s release POST-) and fun at the same time, and you are left with a heartfelt record of friendship, heartbreak, and words left unsent.
Farren and Rosenstock’s friendship shines through clearly in this record. It appears in the fast-paced synth and guitar solos of Freakin’ U Out, the vocal harmonies towards the end of So Vivid!, and the tenderness of the opening and closing tracks. Their friendship is loud, unafraid, and infectious, much like this album.
This record examines the self-doubt and self-reflection caused by connecting on the internet that leaves so many people lost and confused. The chorus of Do It Over, “I thought my life was gonna change/But this year I stayed painfully the same/I don’t want to talk about myself like that anymore/Can I just do it all over?”, conveys the stubborn state of stasis that social media can often leave someone in. Deleting, then recreating facebook profiles from scratch has become the new redecorating a bedroom. Maybe that’s because no one can afford a house of their own to redecorate anymore, but maybe there’s also a definite catharsis to removing all connections to your past, and slowly and methodically adding the people you want to keep in touch with.
Lifelike’s lyrics hit that part of me that is scrambling to maintain a sense of perspective in a world that seems to have lost whatever perspective it once had. Followed by the intimate nature of Email, the album’s closer, and it’s easy to see how the political turns personal. This may be a pop record, but there is a definite vein of punk running through it.