As the melodic arpeggio-riff that opens ‘Painkiller’ by The Jacques gently lulls the listener into a melancholic haze, one is instantly drawn in by the raw honesty of the Bristol indie-rock outfit’s latest track release. The minor key used throughout the intro, and indeed the whole piece, highlights the general tone – quiet, suppressed angst.
The Jacques cleverly build upon this dark mood through their somewhat disturbing lyrical content. One particularly potent example appears in the first verse: “Here comes the rain to soak up my bones.” When combined with the chilling guitar riff and the amplifier feedback that is ever-present, these lyrics appear to become the gothic voice of a tortured entity, in turn perfectly conveying the emotion behind the track.
The highlight of ‘Painkiller,’ however, is the chorus. It is the moment in the song where the whole band truly comes together as one, thrashing their way through a distressed masterpiece that wouldn’t sound out of place on Nirvana’s classic final album, In Utero.
Overall, ‘Painkiller’ is a highly impressive effort from the quartet. Its rasping vocals and guitar-driven angst are easily enough to excite fans about the band’s debut album. If the album is up to the standard of this track, we’re all in for a (rather morbid) treat.
Words by Harry Kite