Unless you are already familiar with Ailie Ormston and the artist Ω, ********, their band with an unpronounceable name will be the wildest thing you hear today. Ormston files this under a tab titled Guinness on her website, which stands for: ‘Generally Underwhelmed. Incognito. Niceties. Not Even Slightly Suggestive.’ This may very well be the eight letter acronym that their silent asterisks imply, or though the only certainty is the name of their record, The Drink. And everything about The Drink is unexpected.

Both Ormston and Ω have established reputations for making music way outside the box, so their collaboration here makes perfect sense. What they managed to create together expands on what they both were already good at, adding effects like canned laughter or scratchy recordings of Christmas carols and film dialogue where appropriate. It often feels more like an art project than a coherent record, though in a way, that’s literally what it is. When in the right headspace, one may even resonate with its haphazard instrumentation and radical political messaging.

The way this album ricochets between improvised melodies and shaky vocal recordings, it is not one that will garner too many repeat listens. But it is an experience that nevertheless should be considered, given its allegorical qualities; what could be more like a mirror held up to life than a nonsensical amalgamation of depression and bad habits? A press release for the album calls this “a twelve-track album addressing a duo’s contemporary and indifferent existence in The West.” With numerous references to the title found throughout the album, one can surmise how they cope with our mad world.

The album opens with the instrumental title track, which gives no hesitation before completely losing control. If you listen too carefully, the growling industrial drones may begin to feel like predatory cats surrounding you on all sides as a studio audience laughs indiscriminately. The record continues on with assorted sounds, very little of which actually sticks to chord structures or steady rhythms, though you will get some occasionally stellar guitar work. The percussion sounds like it was all taken from toys, and given that this was recorded without any sort of rehearsal, that very well have been the case. I can’t even say for certain this was recorded in a studio, and not in a flooded London basement.

Despite shirking band practice, ******** still manages to coordinate their vocals, as lazy-sounding as they are. Both use that quintessentially British tone that is supposed to suggest that they don’t really care about anything, yet they sing about matters that are understandably close to their heart. Of course, often they sing ironically, as in “Comedian” which describes someone making a living performing jokes, yet they themselves do not understand laughter. Toward the end of the album they declare that they are “ready for another Cold War,” probably a conclusion reached after all the Jeremy Kyle, Dr. Phil, and Jerry Springer they’ve been watching.

The band has no intention of this project having another installment, and so they are calling this their debut and final work. The Drink may not have the longevity that pop albums seek to enjoy, but the power of it lies in its hard-to-reach relatability. This is an album meant for stressed slackers today, and when we look back on it, nostalgia will be vicious. It’s important to remember how hard life can get, if only to humble us when the world throws us into peril again.