By Cher Guevara, Staff Writer
East Bay trans punks Lavender Scared decided to try their hands as folkies with this raw, passionate EP, “Hunger No More.” Stripped down sounds, however, don’t blunt their anger at society and the government as the jaunty acoustic riffs provide a bouncing singalong atmosphere to the middle fingers they still have firmly raised against The Man.
Opening with “Hunger No More”, the record starts off with a shade of the darkest feelings as the bands sings a ballad of life on the street, comparing the cast-off rubbish found in second hand stores and in the trash cans to the people wandering the streets homeless, the rubbish thrown out by society. There’s a line that particularly catches me: “Old friends come to meet you at the mausoleum door / Walk between the vaults”. Ultimately, as the band brings it to the last chant of “Hunger no more / Hunger no more,” it’s clear that death is the only way our narrator is hungry no longer.
“Passing Through” keeps with the theme of life on the fringes of society, although it’s a bit more defiant and maybe even hopeful than the first cut. The group starts it off with a good “fuck you” to the politicians in Washington, singing boldly “I’m not going out to vote on Tuesday / Nobody should be the president / I will cast my ballot wrapped around a brick / Unless one of ‘em wants to pay my rent”. The song continues with the dropout theme, as the bands sings about how they’re done with a 9-to-5 job, they’ll just take their paycheck to the liquor store, they’re done with any and all formal schooling, and if they croak on the road, well so the hell what? There’s no set plan, just a never-ending road to keep going down. It’s not exactly sunny or anything, but it seems they’ll keep going just to have something to do, if nothing else.
The defiance builds with “Condemned!”, a song that finds the band looking back and seeing that maybe their prime has come and gone, but to hell with it. As they sing “This place oughta be condemned”, it takes a bigger meaning as they talk about people wanting things from them and they don’t want to be bothered, they talk about the pills they took and the seasons they’ve survived, it’s not a building or a house that should be condemned, it’s their lives. The beauty lies with the refrain “Someone come and scrape me off the floor / I don’t think this is enough anymore”. Those lines say everything. Sure, they may live on the fringes of society, but it’s still their own, cracked and broken as it may be.
The EP comes to a close with “The Space You Leave”, a song ultimately about continuing the struggle and moving forward. Written about a comrade who has since gone on to the great beyond, the band pledges “and I will walk in the space you leave / And you will leave”. Driven by beautiful vocals, this song cuts straight through as a remembrance to those we’ve lost along the way. Through the hells of life, our old friends are still thought of and we will carry on for them.
This is the first acoustic folk release from Lavender Scared and I hope it won’t be the last. This band has delivered a strangely fitting eulogy for the fucked-up year that was 2020, a stark musical affirmation of Hunter S. Thompson’s words “We’re all locked into a survival trip now.” The defiance and solidarity are still there, but it’s become personal now, to live in the face of it all is revolutionary in and of itself.
This EP is available (for free!) at Bandcamp.