Canadian indie poppers Dizzy confront loneliness and dependency on their third album
“Love and hell mostly are the same thing,” sings Katie Munshaw on ‘Cell Division’, the 10th track on Dizzy’s self-titled record. The song is a heartbreaker, a rumination on dividing from a formative presence in your life, built around a quiet piano melody. Munshaw quietly panics about the diverging paths and what her life will look like going forward. The main impression that Dizzy leaves on us is that this, the ending of a relationship of any kind, is the scariest thing imaginable.
We know from the top of the record that Munshaw understands these endings can be inevitable. On opener ‘Birthmark’, she compares the way her friends watch her and her partner to “the way you watch something combust”. ‘Close’ sees her grapple with a desire to keep someone close while she fears holding them back. “If you’ve gotta go, go / We can blame it on timing,” she tells them, over an instrumental as faux-laidback as her lyrics. Then she adds, fists still clenched: “I will leave the light on in the hall”.
To love, the band explain on Dizzy, is often not a positive experience. On unsettling slow builder ‘Starlings’, it forces Munshaw to face the fact that she might be “too much to hold onto”. It causes her, on ‘Knock The Wind’, to imagine crushing the heads of those that have broken her heart and demand repentance. And yet she can’t let go of a connection. After Munshaw commands her lover to “let it die”, on ‘Starlings’, the electric keys continue to play through crackling static for two further minutes, as if she can’t quite leave things there. On the increasingly frantic love song ‘My Girl’, she insists that this relationship can outlive any disaster. “You’re still my girl,” she repeats as the noise builds until her words are almost lost.
Dizzy is a woundingly raw depiction of the anxiety of loneliness, in which the demise of any relationship – whether romantic or familial – draws Munshaw further away from herself. Its most brutal moments come whenever she turns to the past, looking back at home video footage of her childhood on ‘Cell Division’, or asking over and over again on younger sibling anthem ‘Are You Sick Of Me Yet?’, “I need you so, did you know that?” In these moments, which fall later in the record, we are able to contextualise her reaching hands, the way she tells a lover on ‘Stupid 4 U’, “I think you are my family now.”
The real tragedy is that Munshaw knows none of it will work. “No amount of loving can stop the dog from barking when she’s in pain,” she sings on ‘Barking Dog’. It’s a journal entry of an album, a confronting portrayal of someone halfway through a journey. Munshaw knows that being fulfilled in her own company is the only sustainable solution. But where it may have been tempting to end the record with some promise of better days to come, Dizzy remind us that it’s all easier said than done – and that acknowledging that is enough for now.