What if When We Die, We Scatter?: The Placebo Effect
At first listen, What If When We Die, We Scatter?’s new single, The Placebo Effect (A Degree of Being), seems to concern the effect of drugs on someone’s life. However, the title suggests that the real problem has always been more than just substances.
The nakedly emotional content of the track, singer/songwriter Jim Vest’s tremulous voice, and the quiet/loud structure, immediately makes me think of Dashboard Confessional or Sunny Day Real Estate. While this may not be a fashionable comparison to make in 2018, I have always liked both of those bands. I am a nakedly emotional type of guy, myself. The trick is being honest without sounding like you’re whining.
I think that Vest accomplishes that here. His lyrics are less specific than impressionistic, but still do not fall into the trap of self pity. Rather, he is resolved to “see it through.” He’s coming to terms with the demons.
In The Placebo Effect, Vest is really trying to find a genuine cure for a life with parts he’d rather have erased from his brain. He believes there is a way to survive, but hasn’t figured everything out. It’s an incomplete message, but one that resonates for that very reason.