Independent • 2021

On their self-titled debut, knitting unravels assorted anxieties while facing the fact that they still have to get out of bed every day.

I am a knitter, but I do not find knitting to be a relaxing activity. After a particularly arduous knitting session, my jaw aches, and my back is sore from the self-imposed physical strain of knitting and/or purling stitches. “So why do you knit, Laura?” That’s a great question and one that I often ask myself, but then I finish a project, and it turns out well, and I’m happy, and later when I see someone’s knitted creation online, I get inspired and excited, and the crafting process starts all over again. 

It’s comforting listening to knitting’s self-titled release and hearing grungy, agitated lo-fi bedroom pop/rock sounds that align with the state I enter when I am doing the activity Mischa Dempsey has named their band after rather than music whose balmy sounds could be partnered with relaxation. Dempsey’s emotions are frayed on knitting as they unravel assorted anxieties that often centre on relationships but are also fueled by the fact that we have to get out of bed every day and face the day: “My legs are short but the road is long,” Dempsey sings on “fix.” 

While Dempsey is encircled with birthday candle smoke and facing a quarter-life crisis on “spitting on the sidewalk,” the guitar wobbles like your bottom lip before tears start to flow, and opener “last mistake” finds Dempsey trying to face their mistakes and coming to terms with the fact that they may have to rip out a few stitches to mend their error. But similarly to how I feel after I finish knitting something, there is a little joy buried in knitting. On “baby carrots,” Dempsey celebrates the titular food by singing, “baby carrots don’t give me any regrets.” But as quickly as the baby carrots in a store-bought vegetable tray grow that white coating, the joy dims briefly as Dempsey admits, “but baby carrots never made me any friends” before they return to singing their praises.

But you know what? It’s hard to find any happiness amongst all the challenges (knitting-related or otherwise) life throws at you so let’s savour these joyful moments whether they are sparked by a finished knitted good or a tiny root vegetable.