“Writing LP2 was cathartic but I needed more.” Longtime Philly resident Kaytee Della Monica began No Thank You with close collaborators Evan Bernard and Nick Holdorf as an exercise in cathartic, electric indie rock. 2018’s All it Takes to Ruin It All served as a wellness check between grieving and healing, leaving a trail of memories of Della Monica’s late father. Embroidered Foliage, the band’s third LP, continues this path forward while acknowledging the steps taken, because as Della Monica explains, “grieving is an ugly beast that reared its nasty head in ways I couldn’t have imagined.”
Embroidered Foliage approaches mortality differently this time around. In the space between records, Della Monica found herself grappling with the shrapnel of a brief, yet intense relationship. You can hear the chaos ripple straight through opener “Saturn Return,” where concentric circles of guitar loop around Holdorf’s vicious drums. Several moments flicker away just before they flourish in bite-size running times, like the electronics-kissed “Letter Writing Contest” or its neighbor “Everything or Nothing,” where a story of relationship micromanagement lies at odds with one of their most maximalist arrangements—then it abruptly ends. Much like the tension framing the creative process, this version of the trio is propelled and haunted by explosive conclusions to temporary solutions.
As a listening experience, No Thank You’s third full-length branches off in unpredictable directions. The title track makes a move into symphonic slowcore, where an underbelly of frantic strings join a band drowning in their own tone. “Airport” is a swaying branch in a storm of building suspense, where a chorus of voices pan out over decomposing guitars. In moments of decay and disarray, No Thank You finds their most varied yet compelling work yet. Kaytee senses that she may have found something else in the process. “I was likely following in my usual pattern of self destruction, what ultimately came from the introspection was of the utmost importance; a glimmer of self worth.” Yes please.