Cardiff’s Estrons, which means alien in Welsh, have been running rough shows on live venues for the past few years now. On record, however, they’ve been showing far more nuance and intelligence than many give them credit for. Their debut record, which highlights gender imbalance, single motherhood, and society’s addiction to love, is not only a vital, crucial and highly nuanced piece of work, it’s also one of the finest debut records of the year. Loud, angry, and passionate, Estrons have struck a winning formula. Importantly, too, each and every song has a purpose, sounds different, and provides sensual thrills. Clocking in at just over 30 minutes, You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough is calculated, determined and intense.
Much of YSITM,ISYNE’s essence is about Tali Källström’s difficulties of being a single mother and a touring musician. Suffering from troubles such as custody battles, these conflicts come to fruition on album closer ‘Drop’, which was written in a police cell after a parental misunderstanding. “I was so angry, but I wasn’t allowed a pen, so I just kept chanting these lyrics,” she says. “I ended up having to go through three months of hell.” The result is a magnificent blend of protest song and raucous punk and it caps the album off the way it started: in a combatant, angry sense of injustice. In this showcase, Tali has all the makings of the political songwriter of her generation.
One of the finest songs, ‘Cameras’, continues the theme of motherhood. Written as a message to her son, meant to be read in the future, she screams: “I’ll always put a fight up for you, I’ll buy the day and night for you,” about “that one love that can’t be broken, no matter how many times people try to break it down.” It’s an incredibly heartfelt statement that pulls at the heartstrings and proves that Estrons aren’t just your average punk band. There’s an impressive sincerity to Källström’s lyrics which almost perfectly fuses with the band’s discordant nature.
Elsewhere, Källström turns her sights to other problems facing her generation. ‘Body’, arguably the poppiest song on the record that evokes Gwen Stefani’s No Doubt, is an assertion towards the “self-obsessive compulsive disorder”, whereas ‘Lilac’ turns its attentions towards gender, and the assumptions society declares on it. Whereas the capricious ‘Killing Your Love’, which escalates into a stirring, gnarly fever focusses on people’s desperation for love. “I heard you met the one… the one you met the other week” falls halfway between sincere and tongue-in-cheek and it acts as a knife to the heart.
The album title, and indeed the album’s raucous style, sounds confrontational. That’s not the case, however. Lead singer Tali Källström states it’s, “Not meant to be an argument, or an answer back. It’s just meant to be a comment on how we’re all different, and we all deal with ourselves in different ways. We all have dark moments; we all have good moments.” The whole of You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough, despite the surface level conflict, is incredibly nuanced, layered with different meanings throughout, and one of the finest debut statements from a band in a very long time.