If a band name could aptly summarise the current events in the world then that would surely be Sadness & Complete Disappointment. The trio use their “unbearable anger at the state of the world” to hone a grungy, melancholic sound that symbolises the state and feelings of a nation, which they describe as “misery-grunge slut-dropping over the choir soloist.”
However, there’s more to the Midlands band than simply “three miserable people” making what they summarise as “Kate-Bush-core.” The trio began with Esme (lead vocals and drums) and Kit (guitar) casually writing music before a shocking event led to Beka (bass and vocals) completing the lineup.
As Esme explains: “It just sums up where we felt like we ended up no matter what we tried. Our last attempt at forming a band ended in me getting pinned down and aggressively fondled by our old creepy ex-bassist while I tried in vain to fight him off. He moved countries like the pathetic baby he is after we threatened to get the police involved. Yet again, our musical endeavours had ended in sadness and complete disappointment.
“Nevertheless, we didn’t have any plans to stop making music, and in this case, when sexual assault closed a door it opened a window, and gave way to the joining of our perfect and totally NOT disappointing third member – Beka. If Kit and I are sandals, Beka is the nail polish, the anklet and the sexy little 90s toe ring that makes us hotter than Shakira’s feet in the Whenever, Wherever music video.
“At some point around then ‘Sadness & Complete Disappointment’ went from a catchphrase to our official name. It’s relatable. It’s the national mood. And that was back in 2019; little did we know that we were all about to go through a shit-tonne more extraordinarily sad and crushingly disappointing events.”
First three singles give us a taste for debut EP
The latest taste of what the band offer is Survivor’s Guilt, which was released on Wednesday (10 February). It opens up with a dark guitar lick under Esme’s engaging vocals, then the guitars intensify under higher-pitched cries of “Don’t fall in love.” The pace builds then drops into melancholic high-pitched vocals.
Big guitar chords jump in alongside big vocals that feed into a creepy section of meandering vocals and palm-muted guitars, which burst into a big chorus. That takes this intriguing track to a heavy conclusion. Check it out with a dose of silent movie goodness in the video below:
That follows the grungier, very apt Monotony, which opens up with heavy guitars under Esme’s engaging vocals. That feeds into a catchy chorus that features the lyrics “These four walls, These dead streets, Each day feels longer now though everything’s the same as it was.”
Big rocky guitars kick in and drop into another grungy verse that ends with the line “Isolation breeds strange and awful people” and feeds into another chorus. The pace suddenly drops into light vocals, palm-muted guitars kick in under intensifying vocals that build up to a final chorus. Check it out in the video here:
Those two tracks followed delicious debut track Status, which epitomises the “Kate-Bush-core” moniker. It opens up with a fun guitar intro before Esme’s enchanting vocals take over. Heavier guitars return as winding vocals build up to a faster chorus, and drops into another bewitching verse. A second chorus gives way to a cool little guitar solo, which is brilliantly visualised in the video as “eating the rich man” literally.
These tracks give us – and the band, apparently – plenty to get excited about for debut EP Fun, which is out next month. As Esme reveals: “We keep getting banned from Instagram for using the wet emoji to explain just how excited we are about people finally getting to hear it. (I wish I was joking.)”
And on the EP, Esme adds: “Just expect to hear some big sounds. We put layer upon layer of noise into this thing. We get a load of inspiration from 90s grunge, but then we throw a tonne more shit at the wall, and see what sticks, but then scoop the shit that doesn’t stick back on the wall and use a nail-gun to keep it there.
“Also I finally gave up trying to make my voice sound anything like it just does. I used to want to force so much grit to it, but it’s not sustainable to sound like someone else the whole time. So for the first time I am just singing the way I naturally do, which feels so liberating but also gives a different kind of tone to a lot of the bands we might sound like instrumentally. I always wanted to sound like Brody Dalle, but I am way more on the hazy-Soprano Lana Del Ray side of the spectrum and just embracing that has been absolutely pivotal in figuring out our sound.”
Sadness & Complete Disappointment inspiration
A big part of the Sadness & Complete Disappointment appeal is the issues they speak out about, including being “so fucking bored” and “unbearably angry” with things that are happening in the world.
As Esme tells us: “There are days where I can’t even let myself think about the state of the world because I am scared the sheer rage of it all will cause me to have an aneurysm. We are bored, but not just of lockdown, we are bored of capitalism, of inequality, of poverty, of the growing population and the ever decreasing access to healthcare and decent education.
“We are bored and sick of seeing people running the fucking country who have no fucking clue what it is like to live in the country they are running. We are bored of sexual harassment being a part of daily life. We are bored of people telling us that our band only gets press coverage because we are ‘box-tickers’, but in the same breath organising festivals that have entire days with all white male headliners that prey on the 15 year old fans in the front row. We are bored of having to politely reject creeps who run their dirty hands up our thighs in bars or in fucking London Underground trains rather than being able to turn around and tell them to FUCK OFF because we are scared of being fucking attacked.
“We are so goddamn bored of being told to ‘take a pretty picture’ when we are not – and do not want to be – fucking ‘pretty’. We are bored of having full on, slit-wrist-shaved-head-screaming-naked-in-the-garden-breakdowns then waiting months and months for a mental health evaluation only to be awarded 6 sessions of CBT with a trainee councillor then being let loose back into the world with no fucking clue how to cope with the goddamn pain we are in every fucking day. And we are so fucking bored of being told that there is help out there, and that things get better when there fucking isn’t and it fucking doesn’t.”
And that is pretty much what they write about. Supporting the anger is the trio’s interesting mix of musical interests. All three are fans of 90s grunge, but other than that they vary fairly drastically. Esme is really into psychedelic and neo-psychedelic, doom and stoner rock and post-punk.
In Esme’s words: “I am really into When writing the music for ‘FUN’ I had been listening to a lot of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Black Lips, Weyes Blood along with Future of the Left, Youth Man and Raketkanon, when we got together. I am in the top 1% of Pink Floyd listeners in the world, according to Spotify (and that’s not even counting the amount we listen to the vinyls at home), and I fucking love Portishead. However, the more we played together as a band, the more I felt like we leaned towards a kind of Placebo/Hole/Smashing Pumpkins sound which is pretty delicious.”
Beka has a “dead groovy” musical taste that includes layered etherial vocal harmonies like Jade Bird and Meg Myers, as well as bands like Puppy and post-grunge like Badflower. While Kit is a “proper 2000s kid” who listens to punk, has an “endless nostalgic love” for Blink-182, as well as Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and Creeper.
And, as Esme summarises: “Having this massive range of musical influences pushed in a blender together is probably why it’s been hard for us to sit comfortably under one genre label, but also how we are managing to make some music that doesn’t sound a whole load like other stuff that’s around right now.”
You may be surprised to learn that the Sadness & Complete Disappointment trio you see have never played a live show together. Their initial writing process took them up to Spring 2020, when you-know-what happened. And Esme tells us: “So, we are absolutely gagging to get out on tour. We have been working so hard for the best part of a year and half, making music, refining our set, getting absolutely raring to go and it is so frustrating not knowing when our first gig will be. “
With that in mind, they already have plenty more music written and ready to go, in addition to next month’s debut EP. The only choice they have to make is whether to put that into another EP or a debut album. But regardless, as Esme tells us: “You have to see us live. Whether you like the recorded music or not, when we finally get our show on the road you gotta get down to whatever venue is near you and see what we have in store. We advise you lay down the tarp to catch the fluids.”
We love the dark and grunge sound of Sadness & Complete Disappointment. Their angry themes and delicious rocky yet melancholic sound offers up modern day anthems that are a perfect tonic for the truly awful times we’re living through. Hopefully they can bring a little joy to all our lives when debut EP Fun is released on 5 March.