Failing Up Brings a Major Upgrade to Sound, Production, and Execution on Stories of a Disturbed Mind

4.6 out of 5 stars

Failing Up is a punk band on the more hardcore side out of Los Angeles and fronted by Tanya Delgado with Andy Pero on guitars, Benjamin Cumming on bass, and newly added Seán Rule on drums.

Though the band has released a few EPs in the past, Stories of a Disturbed Mind is the debut full-length album from them. It is also a massive jump in every level of recording and performing for the band. 

Rule definitely brings a seasoned advantage to the band as he is a few years older than the rest of the band, but with that comes some of the most technically sound drums you may hear on an album this year.

The album blasts off with a snippet of audio from the 1994 movie In The Mouth of Madness explaining that we have, “Fucked up the air, the water. We fucked up each other. Why don’t we finish the job by flushing our brains down the toilet?” 

This leads into the first song “Fry My Mind” which has an absolutely rad intro and some bad ass music all the way through.

The song also details a toxic relationship which recurs a couple of times in the album as well.

A couple of lines in the song directly reflect this such as, “I know I can't be with you, that you're not good for me. I was fine before this, fuck off and let it be.”

The next song on the album, “Not Today,” is probably a bit autobiographical for Delgado as it is about a female character coming of age and being a bit of an outcast in the world. The song showcases a bit more of Delgado’s voice as well, ranging from singing outright choruses to growling and yelling in other parts.

Far From Home” is probably the most sentimental song on the whole album, and it is possibly the most “radio ready” song on the album as it is a very anthemic song with a very profound chorus. It’s one of my favorite songs that Failing Up has ever made.

The next song on the album “Bully” delves into internet trolling, misinformation, disinformation and possibly even making comments directed at people in power without explicitly naming any individual. The message seems pretty clear though. Basically the song is saying that if you spread lies and hate, then you are a piece of crap.

Resistance” is a power punk anthem about uniting together in order to take back the United States from the twisted people in power including politicians and the media. A pretty classic trope for punk bands, yet it is always important to speak to messages that one believes in.

Parasite” is one of the songs on the album that points towards Delgado’s disliking of the people who she sees as not fit for planet earth. In the song she asks the question:

You fucking parasite, you can't just get it right
You fucking parasite, how can you sleep at night?

Also, the song is the only previously released song that they reworked to put on this album as far as I can tell as it was originally the title track to their first EP back in 2017.

The drumming on the bridges of “Worst Enemy” (and in the whole song) are some of my favorite parts on the album. The song also deals with the decay of one’s mind from being a good person into someone who is the “worst part of” themself.

The final breakdown during the song is also pretty rad with some heavy guitars and drums and even some grunts to make it sound heavy.

One of the biggest highlights of the album for me is the song “Only Human” where Delgado delves into the self-deprecation and self-realization of someone coming to terms with how their own actions create the world around them.

Pray For All” is a song about the war machine that is American culture and politics. In this song though, the idea is that it focuses only on the “victims” of the industry of war - for example, the dead soldiers, veterans who commit suicide, the collateral damage of human beings who get killed in conflicts that they aren’t fighting. 

The final song on the album, “Pick Your Poison” is seemingly about the overmedication of America mixed with the misinformation of medical practices and the media surrounding the messaging of such misinformation. Basically, big pharma controls more humans by pushing their pills on everyone, the media picks it up and makes it seem okay, then said humans are brainwashed into being codependent (prisoners) of said prescription medicine.

Overall, this is a great debut album that has taken years of hard work to get to this point, and it has really paid off for the band.