A complicated and possibly dangerous relationship takes center stage in “Boom Hazard,” a danceable declaration of self from Gauche, a band connected to young-but-heralded D.C. punk outfit Priests. The track kicks off with a snarky “I’ll bring you some bourbon” from singer/drummer Daniele Yandel before moving immediately into the deceptively deadpan chorus.
“Boom hazard hazard/Fallout comes my way,” Yandel sings, diving directly into meltdown imagery. She follows up with “Boom hazard hazard/I can’t get away.”
“I was thinking about it as a really great metaphor for a relationship falling apart,” says the 29-year-old Shaw resident, who also plays drums (but doesn’t sing) in Priests. “The chorus is obviously an allusion to nuclear meltdown, so thinking about Fukushima and Chernobyl and when the nuclear reactors melt down — how it’s just unexpected and things falling apart.”
The imagery might not be the most original for a rock tune, but the lyrical content of “Boom Hazard,” which is the fourth track on Gauche’s new cassette, Get Away With Gauche (on Priests’ Sister Polygon label), is unusually personal for the band. Its songs normally revolve around macro-level issues — society’s structure, identity politics — but this one doesn’t move much beyond the intimacies of a single relationship.
And the source of the hazard?
“In the world of that song, I was very big. Too big,” Yandel says. “I had a bigger impact than I wanted to. I wanted to get away from my impact.”
All this is not to say, however, that “Boom Hazard” is a standard breakup song. “I am not your mirror/I do not reflect you,” Yandel sings during one of the rapid-fire verses.
“One of the things the song does articulate well is that there is this feeling that I’ve been coming up against a lot that women tend to be these kinds of affirmative mirrors for other people,” says Yandel. “I’m actually a person with my own ideas, not just a thing for you to confirm your own identity.”
Of course, the kind of affirmation that Yandel is talking about isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, she points out that her closest relationship is currently with her bandmates, and particularly fellow vocalist Mary Jane Regalado.
“Mary sees me as the person I see myself to be and affirms that in me, and vice-versa,” Yandel says. “Ironically, the thing that annoys me that men do, I do to Mary and she does to me, but because we’re equals, it feels less exploitative.”
Within “Boom Hazard,” though, toxic self-affirmation is exactly what leads to a meltdown, because both parties crave the feeling of being valued as people.
“I think it has to do a lot with that sense, or becoming a tool for confirming something about the men who want to date me,” Yandel says. “I don’t want to be that. I want to be a being, too.”