Italy’s What We Lost’s New EP Packs Grippingly Personal Melodic Hardcore

On their new EP Pretend To Sleep, the Italian melodic hardcore band What We Lost strike a gripping balance between physical heft and fittingly nuanced emotional outpourings. They combine the two for an alluringly powerful portrait of both musical and emotional honesty. 

As if turning on a huge microscope, they’ve seemingly quite perfectly amplified the emotionally upending, personal experiences reflected in the lyrics. There’s just about always a rather rock solid post-hardcore riffing driving these tracks, and the forward melodic energy proves quite insistent, but What We Lost build on that backbone with elements like their large reliance on straightforward but emotionally weighted-sounding singing that complements the musical experience perfectly. 

They’ve grown the riffs from the level of the solid songwriting that delivers this EP’s well-kept and seamless feel into a place where listening to the songs feels like stepping right into the kinds of experiences described in the lyrics. The songs feature heart-rending scenarios like struggling through losing a presumably romantic relationship, and those brief, open-ended stories make listening to this EP feel a bit like staring oneself in the mirror after an emotionally rough night. It’s a potentially rough experience — this music does get heavy, and there are some occasional screams — but there’s a creeping feeling of subtly freeing reward, too. Here, those earnest vocals and the dynamic swings that the band pack in deliver that sense of the “other side,” as do the catchy segues in the music.

Ultimately, the emotional weight of the tones and What We Lost’s consistent inclusion of soft, contemplative states ensure that there’s a special touch. When the first track opens, they immediately launch into heavy hardcore riffing, but then they abruptly break away into a segment with just a soft beat getting tapped out in the background as the earnestly honest and desperately personal lyrics and vocal work kick into motion. Really, you immediately get a chance to feel the “realness” of these songs. Listening in, the short but powerful and attention-grabbing release leaves little in between the listener and peacefully confronting and meshing through these emotions. Listening almost feels like watching a short film — the lyrics prove quite direct, after all — and capturing that experiential sense on tape is truly an impressive feat.

5/5 Stars

Check out a single below via Dreambound! The full release’s official drop date is February 7. (Stay in touch with the band on Facebook and other platforms.)