Track-by-Track: Sweater Curse Plunge Into Life’s ‘Push//Pull’ on Heavy Sophomore EP

Sweater Curse
Sweater Curse’s feverish new indie rock record is an uncompromising overhaul turning the inside out and the outside in: ‘Push//Pull’ hits home in all the right ways.
Stream: “Close” – Sweater Curse




Sweater Curse’s new record is an uncompromising overhaul turning the inside out and the outside in.

It’s feverish indie rock with a kiss of grunge and an alternative coating; an expressive display of insecurities and uncertainties, personal pain and anxiety manifest in a seamless 15-minute immersion of sound and heated textures. Whether you’re in need of some deep reflection or longing for a little catharsis, Push//Pull is a dynamic upheaval that hits home in all the right ways.

Push//​Pull - Sweater Curse

Push//​Pull – Sweater Curse

I can finally sleep without seeing something
That shocks me awake
But I can’t keep my thoughts to myself,
They’re so easy to read
I never meant to let you go, I didn’t want to leave you
I thought that it was all for show
You mean so much to me you, you know
I thought that you would see that
I’ll always want you to be close, close
– “Close,” Sweater Curse

Independently released September 25, 2020, Push/Pull is dark, raw, and full of inner demons. Sweater Curse’s second EP arrives only eighteen months after their debut EP See You (March 2019) put them on map in their native Brisbane, Australia. The trio of Monica Sottile, Chris Langenberg, and Rei Bingham, Sweater Curse debuted in mid-2017 and haven’t looked back since. Previously hailed by Australian mag Purple Sneakers for their “unique version of indie rock,” the band’s effortless blend of alternative and grunge vibes with a DIY attitude makes for both a fun and deep listen: They seem to have no trouble plunging into the deep end of life, a quality that shines resolute on their second extended player.

Sweater Curse

Sweater Curse

Opener and lead single “Close” makes for a powerful and fitting entry point. Sweet melodies rollick around Sottile’s fiery vocals as she cries and croons, captivating with a vulnerable and volatile surrender. “I can’t tell if I’m sad, but I’m thinking about it,” she sings in the second verse. “I’m afraid to let it show. Am I insane, or am I on the outside? I hope that you see me…” Sometimes it’s easier to say these painful things when there’s a charged guitar chugging alongside us; one can only imagine how fragile this song might feel were it stripped to its bare bones, but here, done up as it is with fervent flare, it’s a solid force to be reckoned with.

“I Wish I Was a Better Person Sometimes” follows with a blunt message. Once again, the band unveil diary-like dialogue with ease:

I don’t want to be part of this conversation
I can’t let you walk out of this house, crying again
I don’t know how to fix this anymore
I don’t want, to want to fix this anymore
If I’m the only reason you can’t bear to leave
Why am I the only thing that makes you unhappy
If I’m the only reason you can’t bear to leave
Why am I the only thing that makes you unhappy
Why can’t we just stare at the stars
Through my window
I wish I was a better person sometimes

“There was a period of time that we stopped playing this song because at the time, it dug into some pretty raw emotions,” the band say of this track. One of the marks of a good song is when it brings back to life the emotions that inspired it – and this is most definitely a good song. The duet between Sottile and Langenberg makes for an exciting back-and-forth, and their shared chorus feel that much more powerful with multiple voices behind it.


Third track “All the Same” is another embrace turmoil, inspired by the doldrums: The everyday, the nothing, the emptiness. Raw singing and heavy, guitars unleash a torrent of energy that spills into closer “Best Interests,” where the band seem to completely drench themselves in the inner tumult of their past songs. “Maybe I’m too tired to be going over this again. Can’t I just relax and think of all the nice things in my head?” Langenberg wonders from the start. So opens a finale with an unquenchable fire that settles down, but never really resolves itself.

Maybe I’m too tired to be going over this again
Can’t I just relax and think of all the nice things in my head
Will it change anything if I leave this house before going to bed
Or will I still be stuck here figuring out what went wrong from my end
Put my shoes on my feet but I can’t say
What I do, how I feel, are you still the same?
What if I get too busy looking out for everyone’s
Best interests but forget about myself am I best off?
What if I take another try
Will it change anything or will you think of me as I do?
Sweater Curse

Sweater Curse

The ultimate truth about Push//Pull is that its songs tackle difficult existential and rhetorical questions for which there are no concrete answers.

Dread and doubt, depression and anxiety – these are things we learn to live with, perhaps overcome – but they are not “solved.” The band balance their raucous, loud sonics with an impressive degree of control – making sure their listeners know that Sweater Curse, not these emotions or fears, are the ones in charge. This EP, while full of pain and tension, makes for one hell of a release.

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Sweater Curse’s Push//Pull EP with Atwood Magazine as the band go track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their sophomore EP!

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:: stream/purchase Push//Pull here ::
Stream: ‘Push//Pull’ – Sweater Curse



:: Inside Push//Pull ::

Push//​Pull - Sweater Curse

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Close

‘Close’ was written at a particularly turbulent time in all of our lives. It came together pretty quickly with the help of Alex Lahey. We wrote this in a studio across from the Marrickville Bowls’ Club in Sydney just before the release of our debut EP. It’s about something coming between a close friendship, full of miscommunications and misunderstandings, and the loss of closeness as a consequence. It expresses the regret of not explicitly telling someone how much they mean to you and how much you love them.

I Wish I Was A Better Person Sometimes

This song was written in 2017 and almost made it onto our first EP. There was a period of time that we stopped playing this song because at the time, it dug into some pretty raw emotions. After we came back to it we realised it is a song that’s worthy of some work and we are very proud of the final incarnation of the track.
The song is quite literal to a particular period of time. It was a time that I felt like I could do nothing right for a really important person in my life. It felt like anything I did would make matters worse which often caused a great deal of self-destruction and doubt.

All The Same

We wrote ‘All The Same’ on our friend Ali’s farm in Boonah, an hour out of Brisbane, while we were on a writing trip. It was the first time we’d been there and it was so refreshing and nice to spend time together for a few nights without having to focus on anything but hanging out and writing songs. We wrote this song in a late-night session and it just came together so quickly and in such a fun and natural way. This song was so exciting to write and feels like it is the beginning of a new sound for us as a band, alongside our usual more melodic songs. “All The Same’ is about nothing and everything, doing the same things every weekend, going to the same places, seeing the same things and people, but just going with it. It’s a little sarcastic lyrically, but balanced out with the playful instrumentals.

Best Interests

‘Best Interests’ is a song we have been playing in our set since 2018. It was written right after recording the debut EP at a time that I was listening to a lot of Slaughter Beach Dog and Modern Baseball.
Similarly to ‘​I Wish I Was A Better Person Sometimes’ it was written at a time that I felt like I could do nothing to help a person that was struggling with a mental illness and I really felt the weight of trying to keep that particular relationship afloat. In doing this, I often felt guilty when I tried to look out for myself and my own wellbeing and the realisation of that is what this song is about.

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:: stream/purchase Push//Pull here ::

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Push//​Pull - Sweater Curse

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com