Catharsis is a powerful feeling. As a psychological release, it restores the individual’s emotional turbulence into a state of relief. According to Sigmund Freud and his colleague Josef Breuer, catharsis is defined as “the process of reducing or eliminating a complex by recalling it to conscious awareness and allowing it to be expressed.” In Delachute‘s music, as exemplified on the most recent single, “Sophia,” gruesome tales of death and murder are processed, then discharged as art — tender folk pop that allow these stories to be told from the inside out. Built over a drum machine relaying a bass and a clap, Delachute plays their guitar in somber tones with an ear for catchy pop music.

As on their first single, “Caligula,” Delachute sings in a whispered falsetto on “Sophia” that immediately offers solace to ease you into its dark subject matter. A job that requires you to spend time with offenders, their victims, and the dead’s mourning family members can take a toll on your mind. This was Delachute’s day-to-day for a few years. The song’s press release suggests just what a typical work day for Delachute must have been like: “Sophia’s best friend wasn’t supposed to die that night. But she was supposed to be raped. At least that is what [her] murderer said at his parole hearing.” 

It was a night twelve years before the hearing when it happened. A celebration of the semester’s end and summer’s beginning. Drinks at the bar; an innocent and customary way to commemorate a difficult semester. Three drunken older men join Sophia and her best friend — the beginning of a cautionary tale for many women. By the end of the night, Sophia leaves the bar exhausted but desperate to get her best friend to pull away from the men, but she is unaware of their intentions. Two days later, the best friend is found dead.

In absolution, Delachute casts themself as Sophia’s best friend, drafting a love letter built on forgiveness that attempts to diminish Sophia’s guilt and anxiety. “Can’t wait to hear you talk / Wanna make you feel like there’s no rush,” sings Delachute. Sophia might never fully forgive herself for what happened that night — the healing process is ongoing.

On the meandering guitar solo, Delachute consciously bends notes out-of-tune, reminiscent of the band Loving’s slinky flair. It’s not carelessness that’s being conveyed, but grief. It’s no wonder Delachute writes these songs based on their experiences at what has to be one of the grimmest jobs anyone can have. Catharsis must be the only way to unload all of that emotional weight and turn it into something that can be consumed and felt by others.