Written By: Andrew Sedo
“Do you feel like dancing?” Singer Sharon Shy asks on the ultimate track of R.Missing’s debut EP, “Unsummering.” The question is a potent one at any given moment but given true perspective by the follow-up, “If the cost is 300 million lives?” With a slight pause and an unflinchingly robotic “yes”, Shy states the mission of the EP. Unsummering is a dance record for people who just don’t know what else to do. Formed by the members of The Ropes, vocalist Shy and multifaceted musician Toppy, R.Missing is a project for those people who repeatedly find themselves inexplicably alone in foggy nightclubs.
Mercurial synths and driving backbeats make all 6 tracks a tough exercise in the human experience. Toppy’s irresistibly danceable compositions make it nearly impossible to sit still. However, just below the surface, Shy’s tragic lyrics and incessant questioning lurk, making the listener wonder if they deserve to feel better. Nowhere is the constant uncertainty more evident than on the second cut.
Shy struggles with the titular Kelly, and her seemingly shifting personality. Shy croons, “Kelly was a philistine last time we met / so why are we getting along?”, asking herself if maybe she’s the one to blame for enjoying what is surely bad company.
On “Deeper Holes”, Shy obliterates those that question her sincerity by saying “Am I hypocrite in your eyes? / Because you saw me above ground… I only come up / So I can look for deeper holes.” The nature of depression and constant doubt, both external and especially internal, are on display with a hypnotizing rhythm that could play in a Berlin dancehall. Throughout the progression comes an air of destiny, especially on “Birthright.” The choral refrain, “Risk / Became my birthright” makes the listener wonder if perhaps truly not caring is some sort of a divine blessing. Shy backs this up with an affirmation of her reckless actions, “Starting fires / Like this is someone else’s home.” We begin to wonder if this curse is a burden at all.
Shy is pondering that maybe everyone else is wrong for caring. This feeling culminates with “Mouser”, where Shy openly advocates putting her own pleasure ahead of so many others. After saying she would keep dancing after 300 million deaths, she bleakly states “You want to kill it but you won’t / You won’t.” Her inaction and passivity are matched only by her introspection. She wants to stop these feelings, but doesn’t have the courage or ability. Unsummering is a circular path that leads back to the eponymous opening song. The album’s most groovy cut gives context for Shy’s following examination. She morbidly states, “In every city / I lived / Under a blister” explaining why she can never feel anything. She has been burned at every turn. So where do you go when can’t feel and are tired of searching? As Toppy’s production would suggest, the dancefloor. R.Missing’s opening EP is an expression of what it feels like to feel nothing, and the underlying guilt that makes you keep dancing.