The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
“As I got older I learned I’m a drinker/Sometimes a drink feels like family,” Mitski confides with disarming honesty on “Bug Like an Angel,” the strummy, slow-build opening salvo from her seventh studio album that also serves as its lead single. Moments later, the song breaks open into its expansive chorus: a convergence of cooed harmonies and acoustic guitar. There’s more cracked-heart vulnerability and sonic contradiction where that came from—no surprise considering that Mitski has become one of the finest practitioners of confessional, deeply textured indie rock. Recorded between studios in Los Angeles and her recently adopted home city of Nashville, The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We mostly leaves behind the giddy synth-pop experiments of her last release, 2022’s Laurel Hell, for something more intimate and dreamlike: “Buffalo Replaced” dabbles in a domestic poetry of mosquitoes, moonlight, and “fireflies zooming through the yard like highway cars”; the swooning lullaby “Heaven,” drenched in fluttering strings and slide guitar, revels in the heady pleasures of new love. The similarly swaying “I Don’t Like My Mind” pithily explores the daily anxiety of being alive (sometimes you have to eat a whole cake just to get by). The pretty syncopations of “The Deal” build to a thrilling clatter of drums and vocals, while “When Memories Snow” ropes an entire cacophonous orchestra—French horn, woodwinds, cello—into its vivid winter metaphors, and the languid balladry of “My Love Mine All Mine” makes romantic possessiveness sound like a gift. The album’s fuzzed-up closer, “I Love Me After You,” paints a different kind of picture, either postcoital or defiantly post-relationship: “Stride through the house naked/Don’t even care that the curtains are open/Let the darkness see me… How I love me after you.” Mitski has seen the darkness, and on The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We, she stares right back into the void.