Album Review: Thank You I’m Sorry – “I’m Glad We’re Friends”

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Thank You, I’m Sorry already showed off their strong songwriting chops this year with their acoustic debut, The Malta House. Now, the Chicago-based group is back with a full-band follow-up, I’m Glad We’re Friends. For their new record, the band takes a handful of songs from The Malta House, adds a few new tunes, and replaces the acoustic instrumentation with a rollicking rhythm section of Bethunni Schreiner on bass and Sage Livergood on drums backing Colleen Dow’s candid vocals and jangly, melodic guitar work.

With most of the songs clocking in at below two and a half minutes, the group wastes no time getting to the point with lyrics addressing the swirling anxieties of growing up and dealing with daily obligations that can easily overwhelm (no matter how small or simple they seem). Lead single and opening track, “Manic Pixie Dream Hurl,” is a great example as Dow kicks off the album intoning “and I’m hiding under my covers / talking to my mother on the phone / trying to calm down / I wish I was better at being alone.” The song also sets the tone for the bouncy basslines and fill-heavy drumming that creates a style placing Thank You, I’m Sorry comfortably alongside their indie/emo peers, while still maintaining a unique, distinct sound of their own.

“Ten Dollar Latte” examines how the underlying anxieties can kick off even with seemingly positive life developments, such as meeting a new romantic interest, with lyrics like “I count every minute between our texts / I don’t want you to think I’m too obsessed” and “but oh my god, my heart hurts when you say my name.” The lines are delivered over bubbly, energetic instrumentation, imposing a more upbeat mood than reading them may suggest.

The record’s centerpiece is “Follow Unfollow,” one of the best songs on the album—and only one of two to push past the three-minute mark. The track finds bassist Bethunni Schreiner at her most active, creating an intriguing countermelody playing off of Dow’s delivery of lines like “I fucked it up all at once.” Sage Livergood’s relentless drumming holds everything together, accented by quick bursts that push the song forward.

After a brief interlude, the album continues with “Waves,” a song that kicks in right away, returning you from the rewarding detour of “Follow Unfollow” to the tight, two-minute attacks of the first half of the record.

The record closes strongly with two songs that work nicely as a complimentary yin and yang of each other. “Between Hell and Hair School” deals with the lack of motivation to do anything at all, with Dow stating “I don’t wanna go outside / I wanna stay inside my room and do nothing all day.” The instrumentation is more pulled back and open with horns and swells accompanying an arpeggiated guitar before the heavy distortion kicks in.

“Backpack Life” follows with an immediate explosive energy, punctuated by some handclaps and an endearing “woo!” Here, all of the worries and stresses of the record are faced head on, with the result that ultimately says fuck it, why worry? It’s not as nihilistic an approach as it sounds, given its beautiful embrace of the here and now over an imagined future, encapsulated by the line, “I’m running from my real life and I hardly give a fuck.” It’s the perfect way to close an album so rife with anxiety, because in the end, what can you do other than just shoulder your backpack and get on with living your life?

Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great / Phenomenal

Pre-order I’m Glad We’re Friends here.

Aaron Eisenreich | @slobboyreject

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