‘Momentary Lapse of Happily’ is a difficult listen; it’s challenging and bold, brave and fearless. Most of the lyrical content is associated with Knipe’s own identification as queer, relationships with parents and partners and experiences.
But it’s also uplifting; proof positive that the human spirit is a wonderful, powerful thing capable of shining even in the most difficult of circumstances. The result is an album that is a compelling, almost essential, listen.
The beauty of Steph Knipe’s writing is that, although the lyrics may be hyper personal and occasionally difficult to stomach due to their rawness, the themes are universal. We’ve all been in relationships that were wrong for us, and we’ve all been plagued by fears about our identity and where we fit in the world. Knipe’s a wonderful lyricist and has a great way of expressing those issues. Numerous moments throughout ‘Momentary Lapse of Happily’ remind me of Rilo Kiley or Hop Along, especially in terms of delivery, but it never feels contrived. Instead, Knipe has a voice that can encapsulate heartbreaking vulnerability and express the feelings beautifully.
Considering the lyrical content, it would be remiss not to mention the actions of live collaborator Dakota Bahney, yet it doesn’t – and shouldn’t – detract from what is an excellent record. Such discussions are probably left to a lengthier editorial but, suffice to say, it’s sad when bands as the collective – and indeed nom de plume’s when it is essentially a solo act such as Adult Mom – and labels are held responsible for the actions of collaborators. It’s simply impossible to know what everyone is doing all of the time, yet accountability is a difficult beast to judge.
What it does mean is that I take the words and values of Knipe seriously and this is reflected throughout ‘Momentary Lapse of Happily’. Songs such as ‘2012’ and ‘Sorry I Was Sorry’ are provoking, hard-hitting and passionate. There’s a wry, observational humour running throughout, but I believe every word Knipe says and when you can elicit that sort of buy-in, you’re not gonna go far wrong…
‘Momentary Lapse of Happily’ by Adult Mom is released on 31st July on Tiny Engines.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)