Listen to "017 :: HYSTERIC" on Spreaker.


Premonition by White Lung, released by Domino in 2022. Listen / Buy direct


Some music grabs you from the moment you hear it, and some music grabs you by the throat, doesn't let go, and drags you along with it as it drives itself into the ground.

This music is pure energy, blistering intensity, breathless velocity, an unrelenting wall of sound. It exists at just one volume and just one speed; but what it lacks in dynamic contrast it makes up for with its total commitment. This music leaves no doubt as to where it stands or how it wants us to feel. It's a soundtrack to the extremities of emotion, the severity of living, those moments when everything around us seems to be spiralling out of control.

It'd be natural to describe this music as "heavy", with all its thrashing and pounding and wailing. But what I'm most struck by in this music is just how weightless it all feels. Everything seems to be floating on air: the effortlessly breakneck drumbeat, the bright and soaring guitar riffs, and the measured vocal melodies that drift and hover above all the chaos below.

I'll admit, I don't listen to a lot of punk these days, and I never really did, and perhaps what makes this music land with me is precisely how it veers away from the stereotypical punk sound, offering something more melodic and less abrasive. But in its essence and its ethos, it's as punk as they come. What this music really is is an attitude: the refusal to shy away from your fiercest emotions; the confidence to express them without hesitation or restraint; and the rejection of everything that stands in your way.

But if sonically this music is punk without its rougher edges, lyrically it's punk without its headline emotion: it's punk divorced from anger. This music recognizes that the power of this sound needn't only be used as an expression of our rage. Punk music can be used to represent so much more of what we feel, because anger is far from the only emotion that overpowers us, overwhelms us, and makes us want to scream. And what I love about this music is that it takes the punk sound, with all its clamouring intensity, and uses it to channel feelings of maternal love.

Because honestly, what could be more terrifying, more maddening, and more world-upending than newfound motherhood? If any experience is inherently worthy of the punk treatment, this is it. Because at bottom, punk is for those emotions that can't be contained, and there's no greater cascade of emotions than a parent's feelings towards their newborn child.

What this music shows is that punk, though it may seem like such a youthful genre, isn't a music you age out of. Life will always find ways to make us feel outsize emotions, and we will always need music to give those emotions voice.

Fittingly for a song this powerful, it ends with the singer laying down their strongest fears and convictions:

One day, we won't be here...
You'll hate me, you'll move on...
But I won't unlove you...

Music may never be able to express these feelings fully, but it can make clear how fully they are felt.

Liner Notes

This album is purportedly White Lung's last, and was six years in the making, postponed initially by frontwoman Mish Barber-Way's first pregnancy, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic.

White Lung hail from Vancouver, British Columbia, and like any good Canadian band, they've been interviewed by Nardwuar the Human Serviette, an interview that is, as per Nardwuar's usual, chock full of deep cuts from White Lung's past.