Tummyache is the brainchild of producer and singer Soren Bryce. While other artists skirt around difficult topics like anxiety and stress, Bryce is confronting them head-on. However, what makes Bryce particularly heroic is how she deals with these themes while also divulging her own personal experiences. The name of the band was derived from her experiences with severe anxiety and the physical manifestations of this anxiety. Humpday is the band’s first EP and is a thought-provoking alt-rock project that engages not only your ears but also your own emotions.
Expressing your worries and past problems with people is difficult, but Bryce is so confident in her expression of it that the beginning of “Humpday” in front of an audience. It kicks into a rising synth that increases the pressure and gives way to Bryce’s voice. Talking about thought processes and life, in general, can be like wading through a swamp. Bryce’s voice, however, is like a knife through butter. Her lyrics are authentic and straightforward while her voice is clear and calming, making her words easier to digest. “Humpday” is very Radiohead-esque but without the aimless angst. Each note is pointed and measured gradually rising to the chorus that brings us over the hump with optimism and a little bit of hope.
A concerned voice message starts “In Between” and throws us into a lulling alt-rock waltz. This waltz isn’t one that you can dance to, it is one that is common in everyday life. Like many people who have suffered any type of mental health problem, her ability to deal with other people’s issues has become more difficult. Her own self-worth and quality of life is questioned, and to many, her beautifully simple lyrics will hit home. The music behind this track is convoluted and richly textured but not in a bad way. It is obviously a considered choice that only adds to this musical conversation.
Unlike the other tracks that are firmly located in the alt-rock world, “Commonplace” is set in a 6/4 upbeat drum pattern. This rhythm is in juxtaposition to the lyrics that describe the feelings of being isolated and her place in the world. There is an incredible sadness to this track despite its upbeat rhythm. According to Bryce, “Commonplace” was one of the harder songs to finish, and it is easy to see why. It’s a confession of despair, loneliness, and the ability just to keep living.
Humpday is incredibly honest. It takes a certain level of courage to make confessions about your mental health, and it takes heroic-levels of courage to put it to music and release it to the world. The album attempts to talk about existential anxiety and trying to understand a life without meaning, all topics that guaranteed to submerge you into a lonely state of despair. However, even with her honest lyrics, Bryce’s self-examinations make us feel like we’re not alone.