Traceless promo photo 2020

Traceless lights our ears ablaze with “I’m Fine”

I have never been more thankful for Instagram’s targeted advertising as I was when the video clip for the new Traceless single “I’m Fine” came across my feed the other day. This American trio’s latest release immediately caught my attention with the accompanying visual and I just had to listen to the sound byte attached. And boy, was it worth it. I quickly swiped my way to Spotify and just as rapidly, I was hooked on this song. 

The track enters with a softly veiled sound, as if you’re hearing it played from the party next door or maybe it’s echoing off the water you’ve submerged yourself in. But just as quickly as the word “breathe” slips from lips, you’re enveloped fully in the band’s self-assigned post-hardcore rampage as drums blare. Shaun Mealey coaxes a stunning riff out of his guitar like it’s his job, and Nicole Rodrick creates this stunning electronic landscape by working some kind of voodoo magic that seems to physically pull you inside the song itself. 

As quickly as that hardcore slaps you in the face, it backs off and you’re left with a lullaby-esque melody that Derek Ruggia croons over. Dragging ragged vocals that start soft and delicate and climax in raspy screams across the rest of the textures of this song is like dragging gasoline through a fire and suddenly everything’s ablaze. These elements meld together seamlessly, yet hold their uniqueness throughout and I’ve never felt more at home in the middle of the flames.

If the musicianship and top-tier production weren’t enough to hold you over, take a second listen and really hone in on the picture the lyrics paint. Traceless isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions, “am I just afraid to acknowledge / the hardest truths I know exist?” The questions are posed in a self-reflection style gambit. This kind of move requires sacrificing something of yourself, and asking those questions and taking the time to try and answer them is sure to leave the inquirer in the position to lie and say “I’m fine.” Lyrically, this track speaks volumes and the impression it makes is astounding. 

This song feels like fighting your own personal war. One that takes place in the confines of your very being, and one not without casualties. Knowing something isn’t right but having no idea how to fix it is enough to spark battles fit for kings. Feeling helpless against the onslaught of thoughts that wage wars inside your mind is something familiar, at least to me.  Sometimes those feelings we have cause us considerably more pain than anything outside our own control, but whether you’re fighting this battle below the surface of the water, or above it with flames licking at your heels, I think it’s safe to say we’ve all said we’re fine when that’s anything but the truth. 

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Kenzie Miller

Kenzie is a writer and photographer from Portland, Oregon. She works three jobs and changes her hair color faster than she can choose what she wants for dinner. Her "free time" is spent editing the incorrect layer in photoshop, running out of room on her single SD card, and hyping up her friends. You can find more of her work at The Cheetah Press.

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