For Laser Background, everything is in earnest. Andy Molholt’s lo-fi psych pop project tends toward sounding incredibly fun, with spacey synths and big percussion, but lyrically it has an intensity that gives new weight to an otherwise weird frenzy of sounds. The first single from the Philly project’s second full-length, “Jawbreaker” possesses a lyrical seriousness that the Kelly Wisdom EP released earlier this month set the tone for. Produced by Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader of Ava Luna, it’s dreamy and more downbeat than Molholt’s prior work, though it’s still got a grooving bassline and percussion section to keep it danceable. Steadily, over a descending chorus of synth organs, Molholt details a fraught relationship unfolding between his friend and an abuser. The song grew out of a real feeling of desperation—“Jawbreaker” (which earnestly has nothing to do with the band) was the code name that Molholt and his friends used to refer to this harmful person.
When I was younger, I had a roommate that I cared about very much. This roommate had a significant other. And this other, happened to be very very toxic and bad for my roommate. I watched, as one human completely exploited and manipulated another for self gain. Mercilessly, and blatantly. It was truly tragic. I watched this person borrow my roommate’s car for days without asking, return it with no gas & park it in a bad spot so it got a ticket & then never pay the ticket. I listened to my roommate tell me stories about this person being a real true abuser. Inevitably, they would still welcome this person back with open arms no matter what the circumstance. No matter how obvious it was that this person was a horrible sad sack of s**t that was ruining my bright, wonderful, sunny roommate’s life. I gave endless advice. I cried. I also uncontrollably wrote this song.
I was 23. I recorded this song when I was 27. Now I’m sharing it when I’m 29. This song is for all the people who feel helpless. This song is a shattering call to free yourself from the toxic boundaries that we create for ourselves. Life is too short! Don’t waste it.
“Jawbreaker” is available now on 7-inch via Least Records, a short-run vinyl imprint from Eric Slick (of Dr. Dog, Lithuania) and Jethro Waters. The Jawbreaker 7-inch release show is set for March 22 at Aviv, with sets from Friend Roulette, Bueno, and Um Are.