In “Do Not Reply” - the latest single by Chicago punk outfit Stuck - the frustrations of living in a marketized world are just that: the feeling of being pawned off to someone else after being on the phone for hours. The constant back-and-forth between a taxpayer and a collections agency. The idea that success is measured by how much shit we are willing to take. The feeling of being cheated by someone who knows the game better than you. When lead singer/guitarist Greg Obis wails “All I want is just a long leash”, he’s asking for something most people can empathize with: a little breathing room while he figures it out. The demand for reform is there, but it is ingrained in a set of personal experiences that lead someone to wonder if minding their Ps and Qs is a genuine catalyst for change.
In a time when all music could be perceived as commentary on bigger things, it has become increasingly difficult to critique an inherently flawed system in a manner that isn’t sanctimonious. Indeed, it is challenging to write something that begs some sort of foundational change without running the risk of soothing one’s own self-righteousness. In “Do Not Reply”, however, the suffocating wall of sound - familiar to those who have anticipated something new from the band - is instead personified by an honest-to-God desire to live comfortable lives within whatever means Stuck are able to make for themselves. Featuring contributions from Miranda Winters (Melkbelly, Mandy), “Do Not Reply” grounds itself in the notion that class warfare is not only rooted in the coyness of those in power but also in a systemic lack of empathy felt hardest by those on the receiving end.