Last month we had the pleasure of conducting a little QnA with Paqui One Chip Challenge survivor, guitar extraordinaire, and reluctant math rock hero Nick Reinhart, aka Disheveled Cuss. We talked about pedals, Del Taco, his work with Death Grips, and even very vaguely hinted at what’s happening behind the scenes with Tera Melos.
All in all it was a pretty great time, and even though it wasn’t quite as fun or revealing as watching him eat the Paqui death chip on Instagram Live, we did learn a few things along the way. But while taking a closer look at the mind behind so many brain bending projects made listening to Into the Couch even sweeter, on the off-chance you weren’t hip to his discography, Reinhart’s latest offering Into the Couch is a borderline masterpiece with a little something for everyone.
It was fairly obvious from lead single “Creep a Little Closer” that Disheveled Cuss’s latest offering was going to be a totally different beast from it’s predecessor, with a heavier emphasis on acoustic instrumentation and singer/songwriter influences like Brian Wilson and Elliot Smith. But when the second single, “Remote Viewer,” astral traveled through our speakers, we realized that soon, Reinhart would be closer than ever to joining said influences in the pantheons of greatness – yes, even outside of math rock.
Cuss’s 2020’s self-titled debut came at a time of all-encompassing chaos, and while it was rewarding for fans to see Reinhart’s power-pop sensibilities on full display, it also got a little lost in the shuffle of general insanity. Yet with Into the Couch‘s more intimate approach, there’s very little chance the record will be forgotten by anyone. From “Grease Stain”‘s stoney brass to “Abbott”‘s nearly manic undertones, there’s far more to chew on here for discerning listeners, and that’s just the first half of the record.
In fact, Into the Couch‘s back half is almost entirely made of gold. “Bye for Now” is likely the most vulnerable Disheveled Cuss song to date, with all-too-relatable, haunting refrains. “Venus” feels almost like a direct sequel, pressing forward through the grieving and melancholy. Don’t be surprised if you end up listening to both of them back to back a few times to absorb the impact before making it to “Shitty Coffee Table,” but the journey only continues.
In retrospect, one of Reinhart’s greatest songwriting strengths has been his ability to mythologize, hell, even immortalize the obscure. Into the Couch takes things a step forward by applying the same idiosyncratic magic to the tangible growing pains we must all face over time.
The spell relaxes momentarily in the float-y, atmospheric glitching of “Silver Atomic,” but reaches feverish new highs by the time “Still Running” fades in. “Still Running” is pure jazz introspection, making for a penultimately perfect setup. It even reminds us a little bit of the wildly experimental Patagonian Rats days, but to compare it to anything Nick has ever attempted before would be a disservice to what’s actually happening.
As the title track slowly drifts into view for the finale, you can’t help but turn it up. Nick’s bittersweet rearview perspective is more palpable than ever on “Into the Couch,” and though it seems strange at first when the molten metallic screeches start to gurgle underneath the album’s touching final moments, after a while it all starts to make sense. Into the Couch doesn’t aim for perfection, but regardless of the intent, it lands pretty damn close. It’s a nuanced snapshot of what it’s like to simultaneously experience vulnerable introspection and obscured but persistent hopefulness through the lens of a true creative, and that’s more than enough for us.
Man, we knew it would be good, but we didn’t know it would be THAT good. Check out the album on Bandcamp here, and splash us in the face with scalding hot coffee here. We deserve it. Coming up we’ve got a premier with SKiN Graft we’re really excited about, as well as some technical stuff on guitars and pedals y’all oughta enjoy. As always, thanks for reading, and have a decent weekend!