With “Otherside,” A Deer A Horse Aren’t Giving Up

The Brooklyn trio premiere their new track on holding evil accountable.

“Cold Shoulder” and “Double Wide,” the first two cuts off Brooklyn sludge rock trio A Deer A Horse’s forthcoming EP, leave the listener with barely a moment to breathe. “Cold Shoulder” pairs unrelenting fuzzy guitar with lyrics about feeling trapped and acted upon by an indifferent universe. “Double Wide,” meanwhile, is a slow burn that can only muse on the logistical considerations of suicide for so long before giving in to cries for death.

According to a press release, the Everything Rots That Is Rotten EP aims to reflect upon the current socio-political moment, offering the possibility of catharsis in the midst of systemic corruption.” This possibility of catharsis takes a different shape in the subtler seethe of “Otherside,” which is debuting today via AdHoc. Anchored by riffs at once ragged and relaxed, it stays at a simmer but retains a fighting spirit. Here, A Deer A Horse at least believe that cruelty has consequence and that suffering has an end, whether or not they might reach it. “Otherside” features lines that could pass for comforting despite their severe delivery: “You are not so static / It takes practice,” sings Rebecca Satellite, the band’s guitarist. The urgently chanted question teased by the title—“Can you get to the other side of it?”—is more mantra than mockery, less rhetorical than it is a rallying cry.

Via email, Satellite gave us a rundown of the song’s literary origins. “‘Otherside,’ at its root, was inspired by the book Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, but it is also a commentary on the current political climate. The book deals a lot with the concept of fate, most notably in its famous repeating line, ‘So it goes.’”

Satellite said the song was partly a response to American immigration policy. “I wanted the song to bear witness to the current political atmosphere, to point to it as horror, and also to question it,” she said. “If we can let people be separated by a wall and treated as unequal in the eyes of the law and society, how far will we go? Who’s next? When does it end?”

She found a seed of hope in the line “Everything rots that is rotten,” from which the EP takes its title. She shared her conviction that evil can only continue unabated for so long: “The rotten parts of society will show themselves to be rotten over time. They can’t always hide behind a scapegoat or a catchy message. People may not always suffer the consequences of their harmful actions, but with time, their true nature will be revealed and judged by those after them.”

Catch A Deer A Horse supporting Dezorah at Alphaville on June 18. Everything Rots That Is Rotten comes out June 21 via Corpse Flower Records.