Toronto post-punk duo TRAITRS return with another single leading up to the release of their new full-length LP Horses at the Abattoir, coming out this autumn via Freakwave.
The latest track, “Mouth Poisons” is a soaring guitar-driven anthem, churning with passionate vocals, and a powerful bassline—altogether alluding to the sound of the Mancunian post-punk heroes of the 80s, as well as traces of London’s Suede, and Crawley’s Cure.
On writing the song, Traitr’s Sean-Patrick Nolan explains:
“‘Mouth Poisons’ was initially supposed to be a fast, angular punk track and it remained in this form for several months until Shawn wrote the bass guitar part and completely changed the way I heard the song. His melodic bass line brought out a sadness and vulnerability in the track that I didn’t know was there. All of a sudden this frantic punk song sounded more like The Smiths or New Order, so I completely rewrote my synth part to tease out those elements even more. The break before the outro is one of my favourite parts on the album.”
On the lyrics and themes of the song, Shawn Tucker adds:
“The core sketch of this song was written late at night at a very good friend’s place in Frankfurt, Germany. ‘Mouth Poisons’ is an extremely personal song and lyrically I set myself up as the main target. It carries an air of ‘come see what’s going inside of me that wants to burn down everything in sight’. Definitely my favourite single we have ever released to date.”
Watch the video for “Mouth Poisons” below:
On writing Horses at the Abattoir, the follow-up to 2018’s Butcher’s Coin, the band explains:
Nolan: “To me this whole record is about passing time and aging; the frailty and impermanence of existence. How everything we know and love exists briefly before disappearing into nothing. This record covers a wide emotional spectrum from the beautiful to the horrific, overwhelming strength to heartbreaking vulnerability. We started writing ‘Horses In The Abattoir’ in Toronto during the summer of 2018 and continued writing the album on tour overseas. If there was any spare time between shows, we spent it writing in backstage areas, hotels and while crashing on the couches and floors of our closest friends. The album encapsulates both the promise and darkness that we experienced during this very exciting, but equally intense period of our lives. Professionally, TRAITRS was on the rise and our shows were getting bigger and better, but personally both Shawn and I felt like we were crumbling under the weight of personal loss, depression and exhaustion. It was a life-changing time period, for better and for worse, and ‘Horses’ documents both the darkness and light that Shawn and I endured during this time. Lyrically and musically, this is the most personal and brutally honest we have ever been. Blemishes and all, this is who we are.”
Tucker: “The theme of the record pulls heavily from the title: taking something innocent and beautiful and ending its life for no reason. In retrospect, ‘Horses’ captures the darkest period of our entire lives and that hurt bleeds out all over the record. I can definitely say we are still the same band, but certainly not the same inside ourselves. Somehow ‘Horses’ became its own beast and solidified its own place in the world. At times it seemed like all we had left was ‘Horses’ and the record felt much stronger and self-contained than us. We stepped out of ourselves for a while, imploding, almost not finding our way back. We just were not that well to be completely honest. It was a destructive time and I didn’t even realize what was happening until the storm had finally passed. Despite all this, we had written 17 songs, over a hundred fragments and were excited to start a new phase of our career with Freakwave Records. When I hear this record, it pulls things out of me that you might not want to feel or confront, but that’s what making art should be about. This record’s filled with anger, sadness, beauty, hurt, love, loss and beyond. I’m very proud of this record. It’s our best work to date, hands down, our post-depression record.”
“Mouth Poisons” is featured on Horses at the Abattoir, which is set for release on November 18, 2021, via Freakwave.