Though it has its skeptics, primal scream therapy makes perfect sense to me. Whether dealing with repressed trauma or as a reaction to a recent incident, I find acting out unrestrained emotions and shredding my vocal cords with guttural yells therapeutic and calming. Though I don’t claim to have experienced the same kind of psychotic episode as Shawn Kosmo, lead vocalist for Toronto-based Pacer, I imagine the sense of release he gets from singing “Rapture” similarly offers him respite and release.
Mental health is difficult to talk about for both the person experiencing it and those around them. It’s hard to contextualize an invisible health issue, one that doesn’t have a physical manifestation, through language. “Rapture” is Kosmo and his Pacer cohorts drummer Evan Matthews and bassist Dan Pearce’s way of expressing and coping with a mental health condition in the most universal language we have: music. It is a blisteringly wicked tune, built on Matthews and Pearce’s surf-rock, left-of-centre rhythmic foundation. Kosmo brings the riffs and the howls, spinning a mischievous-sounding guitar line that hooks his hearty howls to Pacer’s three-minute cathartic explosion.
“Rapture” may be a song about psychosis and mental health, but it’s also a song of understanding, support, and care. It’s not so much an act of bravery as it is an act of honesty, as I’m sure both he and Pacer as a whole were scared shitless putting such a personal story out there. Surrounded by his close allies and musical co-conspirators, Kosmo is publicly tapping into the most vulnerable part of himself. “Rapture” is a song of self-preservation that will ultimately help save other souls in its wake.