L’Rain: “Pet Rock”

Taja Cheek’s experimental music as L’Rain is free-moving, unmoored from typical song structures and genre restrictions; instead, it pulls from many drifting elements at once. On 2021’s Fatigue, stories of grief and personal change were amplified by eddying, unraveling melodies and orchestral accompaniments, clearing away some of the static of her stirring, minimal debut. With “Pet Rock,” a single from upcoming album I Killed Your Dog, Cheek’s music evolves yet again by drawing on familiar rock hallmarks and recasting them to a buzzing, feverish pitch.

Though Cheek has used guitars in the past, they were often woven into her musical tapestries as texture; here, a flanged, Strokes-style guitar melody is the focal point, winding behind her diaphanous voice alongside rolling drums. “Cut the bullshit and make me into something else,” she insists, before pleading, “Why would you go without me?” The sense of loss is intentionally undefined—at the halfway point, the song bursts open with woozy synths and a searing psych-rock solo as Cheek sings a refrain about feeling like a “dead girl with shades propped up by captors,” tilting the song toward the macabre to explicate a deep alienation. Like the best L’Rain songs, “Pet Rock” finds meaning in ambiguity, leaving unforgettable images in its wake.