First Thought Worst Thought is the recording project of Elijah Beavers from Austin, Texas, who makes music drawing upon folk, bedroom pop and shoegaze. After 2016’s Buried in the Bed and a series of singles, First Thought Worst Thought has recorded a brand new album, Grinch, which is set to be released next month on Dust, Etc. Born of tragedy and personal difficulty, the record is a close examination of loss and pain, processing the aftermath of death both sonically and lyrically.

“My friend OD and died on heroin. Shit’s rough, so I wrote a bunch of songs to try and work through my emotions. Specifically, I tried to look at the different ways people deal with death. Some fight it, some ignore it, some accept it, and some weirdos embrace it.”

We’re delighted to share the first single from the release. The perfect introduction, ‘Grinch Pt. 1’ sets the tone of the record, combining heavy instrumentation with intimate vocals to capture the strange conflict of emotions that bereavement can cause. The loud guitar presents an almost white noise quality, an unremitting sense of anger and darkness beneath which the lyrics threaten to be lost, though Beavers fights to be heard. However, rather than screaming and yelling, the vocals are instead more focused and considered, a steady attempt at calm thinking amongst chaos (making Beavers’s description of the album notably literal). The sentiment veers from blunt reportage of the situation (“killed himself, hit the vein, got dragged to hell”) to acceptance (“I get that I couldn’t help this time”) to a kind of hopeful guilt, imagining that the right intervention might have been enough after all. The latter, which closes the song (and thus forms the lasting emotion), is not so much self-flagellation over chances missed, but rather a deep need to believe that people can be saved, that the things we can say or do are (or could be) enough to drag people from despair.

“Maybe if I called more often
Maybe if I sang him songs
Maybe if I called him up,
told him that he has my love”

Grinch is set for release via Dust, Etc. on the 2nd February and you can pre-order it now via Bandcamp.