Album Review: stillhungry — ‘stillhungry’

Posted: by The Editor

On February 12th, a link appeared out of the blue on social media. It led to a point-and-click game published under the name Horsecig Software. Users clicked through the simple graphics, working their way through different rooms to collect fireworks. After finding their way through drum kits, guitar racks, and phrases suspended in the air, the game rewarded players with stillhungry’s “Best Costume Wins,” the lead single off their second self-titled LP.

“Best Costume Wins” opens the album with stellar production and the story of a spark burning out faster than expected. “A flash of light in my life/just for a moment” evolves into “You burst right out of my sight/a plastic shell of you/all I’ve got left.” It sets the tone for stillhungry, an emotional gut-punch of an album that eloquently captures the nuances of heartbreak. The songwriting is thoughtful and wistful, and it’s clear that band members Matteo DeBenedetti, Jenna Murphy and Erik Kase Romero have taken the time to refine their storytelling capabilities and polish their folk-pop sound. All ten songs paint vivid pictures of the quiet kind of grief: the dread creeping in as you sense a relationship nearing its end, the frustration of someone not giving you the time you deserve, or trying to fill the void of someone you cared deeply for. 

Murphy asks “Are you just trying to get rid of me?/Are you just trying to get rid of me?” on “Ducks”, a particularly poignant track that highlights the frustration of trying to understand someone’s choices and actions. “First Place” makes a specific tale of a long-term relationship (“Seven years of a one-way love”) universal, as they reflect on learning difficult lessons: “Sometimes you learn things the hard way/it’s the reason we’re here in the first place.” While the lyrics on paper seem simple, that’s not the truth of this album. The poignancy of the lyrics’ delivery, the bandmates’ alternating vocals and Erik Kase Romero’s production are what makes this album really shine. Romero’s work stands out on “Paper Lanterns”, as the voices layer and swell as they pine together. “I want another chance to say goodbye/not long till we’re broken down.”

Placed right in the middle of the album, stillhungry reaches its emotional peak with “Take A Minute.” Jenna Murphy’s vocals are incredibly intimate and vulnerable. Multiple listens of this track were almost too much for me – it brought feelings that I had buried long ago to the surface. The way her voice shakes as she delivers “You were in another state/I was in a real bad place/It was there then it was gone” sounds like it was recorded moments after a breakup, and it took me back to a particularly painful time in my own life; months of aching after someone who left without a second thought flooded back to the forefront of my mind. It’s beautiful, powerful and not for the faint of heart. The narrative told throughout stillhungry is undeniably full of sadness and anguish, but their writing and production skills make this an album too impressive to miss; even just to remind you of how far you’ve come since the last time someone broke your heart in two. 

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Madison Van Houten | @madisonvanhalen

The Alternative is ad-free and 100% supported by our readers. If you’d like to help us produce more content and promote more great new music, please consider donating to our Patreon page, which also allows you to receive sweet perks like free albums and The Alternative merch.