The Screwtape Letters is a book of short letters from an old, wise devil to a younger one named Wormwood. The album, Dear Wormwood is a collection of songs from a band called the “Oh Hellos” to that old, wise devil.
I think what hit me about this album is that the songs are incredibly relatable. In an interview, the band were talking about how they wrote it from the perspective of someone who is in an abusive relationship, which sort of gives off the feeling it’ll be depressing or frustratingly two dimensional, like a lot of stories year 12 students write about for the HSC when they have no experience but figure it’ll get some attention. However, the music itself is actually for the main part light hearted and lilting, combining a little bit of American guitar with a dash of Irish folk music. Bluegrass? It’s sweet, and soft and I just found myself leaning back in my chair, my hands still from what they were doing and my eyes closed. Songs such as “This Will End” just run through your blood to the beat of your heart. And yes, there is this clear story of being hurt, being sad, but in a way that anyone can think of a time something has been said or done and they’ve felt this way.
The best thing about the album [I’d encourage you to fight Spotify if you’ve got the free version, and listen to the album in order] is that the narrative rises to be positive. Suddenly, after feeling like this is their depiction of how life is, or how it can be, a hero appears in “Soldier, Poet, King” and we rise to overcome in the title song, “Dear Wormwood”. Here is hope. What’s interesting, though, is that isn’t how the album actually ends. With the musical interlude of “Danse Macabre”, there’s clearly some joy but something that makes you say, “this can’t be it? There must be something more.”
Well, maybe it isn’t. Maybe there is more story. Maybe there’s another song. Maybe the rest of the story is yours.
It’s a good album, and something good to sing when you’re scared.