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The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

The student news site of Carlisle High School

Periscope

Staff Profile
Laura Sands
Laura Sands
Staff Writer

Missing The Target: “Mammalian Sighing Reflex” (Review)

Soots+symbolic+album+art+portraying+his+emotions+throughout+the+album
Soot’s symbolic album art portraying his emotions throughout the album

On November 30, 2023, YouTuber, songwriter, and vocalist Wilbur Soot released his second studio album Mammalian Sighing Reflex. This is his first solo album since Your City Gave Me Asthma, which was released back in June of 2020. 

Since his last solo release, Soot has been focusing on his band Lovejoy which has seen renowned success in the indie rock scene. His band has released three EPs, and a few singles all of which have  gained great traction with fans and non-fans alike. 

Soot’s new album consists of 12 songs, adding up to a total listening time of about 35 minutes. The album has a different vibe compared to Your City Gave Me Asthma, but still mentions a few similar themes throughout. Soot has mentioned on his private Twitter account that the main themes of Mammalian Sighing Reflex are about self-evaluation and burn-out. 

Like his previous album, the album mainly focuses on acoustic sets, but many of the songs feature other instruments and vocal techniques that dramatically change the vibe from track to track. Many of the techniques and instruments he uses are present in Lovejoy’s songs. 

The song “Mine/Yours” was the first to catch my attention on my first few listens of the album. Much of the album seems to be a bit too jumbled with sound effects and vocoded vocals (synthesizes the vocals), but this track doesn’t go overboard with these effects.

Consisting of Soot playing guitar and  a slightly muted kick drum in the background, seemingly a metaphor for a heartbeat,  the lyrics of the track mainly tell the story of the fallout between two lovers’ relationships, which seem to be taking a turn for the worse. Soot mentions all the flaws within the relationship throughout the track but is still attached to his lover and all the things they did together. 

“Mine/Yours” ends with backing vocals harmonizing with the track and a trumpets section that is a nice touch, reminiscent of the horns sections featured  in many of Lovejoy’s songs. 

Secondly, the track “I Don’t Think It Will Ever End” is a very good inclusion to the album. It is a spoken word song, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but is very interlude-esque and adds deeper meaning to the album. It consists of Soot explaining his mindset and his social behavior cycle. As Soot explains how he acts, his “twitch-chat” repeats phrases that he says describing his behavior and emotions. The song has a very eerie vibe and describes Soot’s social anxiety and the way he copes in social situations. Overall, this song has a very pessimistic tone. 

Lastly, the track titled “Trying Not To Think About It” seems to be a return to form for Soot. This track takes place after the relationship is over with his lover and mentions how he “doesn’t deserve love” which is a consistent theme throughout  many of his projects. The song seems like it would fit right in with his EP “Maybe I Was Boring” which features Your City Gave Me Asthma B-Sides. With that being said, the track consists of Soot’s vocals and acoustic guitar almost exclusively throughout the track besides the end. The end is very similar to the track “Mine/Yours” ending with a horns section and Soot having his backing vocals layered over the main vocals. 

However, the album seemed like it lacked vision and was a bit jumbled with sound effects and instruments that seemed like they added no additional value to the tracks. Particularly, many of the songs seemed unlistenable due to the vocoded vocals that seemed out of place.

Many fans were expecting a similar album to “Your City Gave Me Asthma,”  a much more stripped down and to the point record compared to this more recent project. The color scheme of the album art also had artistic similarities to “Your City Gave Me Asthma,” attempting to imply similarity between the two albums. Unfortunately, the album was disappointing aside from the few hidden gems listed above. 

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About the Contributor
Noah Guillaume, Staff Writer
Noah Guillaume is a senior who is new to Periscope and is excited to write many articles this year. Noah likes to research politics,  drink coffee, listen to music, and run cross country. He also loves creating chaos within his friend group and wasting money on energy drinks. He is glad to be part of the Periscope team.
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    izzyMar 23, 2024 at 8:47 pm

    i thought it being jumbled and messy felt a lot more fitting for the album. it felt like project meant to get out emotions and help him through a difficult time, not something for critics to enjoy. the whole album is very cathartic and the lyrics are so melancholy that it can be almost unlistenable at times and i think that’s kinda the point. it’s not meant to make you feel good. i particularly like around the pomegranate and melatonin 130. they are very messy and almost desperate in the way they’re written and produced, like if the feeling of wanting to run through a field while screaming was made into music.

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