Album Review: ‘Every Moment of Every Day’ by Short Fictions


John Matey

Like any self-respecting emo band, Pittsburgh’s Short Fictions are at their best with their heart on their sleeve. Though some may perceive it to be naive, there is an earnestness to the group’s dramatism that makes their music both endearing and highly enjoyable. 

Despite being nearly the same length as their previous album, “Fates Worse Than Death,” Short Fictions’s 2022 release “Every Moment of Every Day” feels longer, and not in a bad way. Some of the more ambitious musical decisions have been shed in favor of tighter and more direct songwriting. Gone are the interludes, long voiceovers and post-rock inflected builds. The band does miss out on having those big cathartic moments this time around, but “Every Moment of Every Day” makes up for this absence by cramming more music into 29 minutes that’s just plain fun.

That is not to say “Every Moment of Every Day” is a cheery record. Short Fictions still sing about heartbreak and the pains of liking someone who does not reciprocate, but have narrowed the rest of their scope from global collapse to merely living in a capitalist hellscape. Barely scraping by, both financially and emotionally, are common themes here. 

The track “Heather” has all the bravado and confidence of a lead single. With a big chorus and driving rhythm section, it wastes no time being gratifying. It brings to mind the anxious butterflies brought on by that unique mix of fear and excitement when you are crushing hard on someone. When the chorus comes roaring back at the end you can’t help but grin. The energy is infectious and is a definite standout track from the album.

“To Leave Forever or Die in South Oakland ” is so Short Fictions that I can’t help but wonder if they went down a self-referential checklist when writing it. Name drop Pittsburgh? Check. Catchy, upbeat melodic hook? Check. Fear of dying alone? Check. Horn solo? Check. Unrequited love but still okay with being friends anyway? Check.

After a short intro clip about unique creativity not being profitable under capitalism, “The Great Unwashed” launches into a blastbeat barrage and screamed vocals. You could hear inklings of hardcore/screamo in Short Fictions’s music previously, but this is an unabashedly hardcore song and a sharp left turn from the rest of the album. That’s not to say it doesn’t work—it’s got all the hallmarks of hardcore (including a spoken word section and an obligatory breakdown at the end) but predictably so. It feels forced and its inclusion is, albeit intentionally, out of place. Still, it gets points for being a “screw you” to capitalism.

“Don’t Start a Band” channels some snark and disillusionment with the music industry and the difficulties of touring. Making it as a band seems more stressful than it’s worth. “Don’t start a band unless you like spending time in a hot van (7 hours to get there, 14 dollars at door) / Don’t start a band you oughta invest in your future (your student loans won’t pay themselves, you should pick up more hours).” It brings to mind Pup’s 2016 album “The Dream Is Over” in its self-aware and self-defeating tone. But it feels real. If you’re in it, you’re not in it for the money. 

All in all, “Every Moment of Every Day” is a worthy addition to the band’s discography and a great followup to “Fates Worse Than Death.” Though the album takes a more straightforward approach to songwriting, it’s still undoubtedly got the core Short Fictions elements.

You can listen to the new album from Short Fictions here.