The relationship profiled in Active Bird Community’s “Unwind with Me” is objectively doomed. Rather than detail the anxiety-ridden animosity that brought the couple to their breaking point however, Active Bird Community jump right to the breaking point itself. Lead singer Andrew Wolfson opens with the verse, “What’s the quota this month? How many lives will you disrupt? Let’s keep it to one and say that’s enough.” The mundane cynicism that defines the couple’s decaying connection is comfortless, while an explosion of foreshadowed hatred is inevitable. At this point, it isn’t a question of whether the relationship will end. It’s a matter of what straw will break the camel’s back.
Sonically however, “Unwind With Me” is not as harsh and divisive as one would conceptually expect. Faint “Oohs” set an opening precedent of content malice as if Active Bird Community are used to drowning out their partner’s constant annoyance. Despite that the lyrics are strikingly bitter, a simple guitar pattern and light percussion emphasize the band’s familiarity within relational discontent. When the heavier guitar chords enter, singer Andrew Wolfson stops singing to suggest that these bitter conversations are being mentally bottled up rather than fully communicated. It isn’t until the end of the ballad that Wolfson starts repeatedly yelling “You can’t unwind with me!”, thus releasing the anger that he’d allowed to internally abuse him prior to this hot-blooded breaking point. Even when the song concludes, the now dismal “Oohs” seem listless, almost as if the freedom of emotional release was just as exhausting as keeping everything bottled in.
The music video to “Unwind With Me” blankets Active Bird Community’s grievances with a layer of transparency. As is the case with most young bands, Active Bird Community are a group of road warriors earning their keep on the back of touring and travel. The video’s inclusion of a moving truck, loosely staggered furnishings and flying packing peanuts symbolize intrinsic instability with their migrant lifestyle. In other words, expecting a straightforward relationship with these fundamentally indeterminate rockstars is unrealistic. That isn’t to say wayfarers are incapable of forming meaningful connections, but the partner that accompanies each member has to be comfortable with volatility and uncertainty. Needless to say, that’s a tough ask for anyone.