‘I’m on a date with God and he’s drunk,” Mish Barber-Way rasps on Date Night. It’s the lead single from White Lung’s fifth and final album Premonition and one of the most incendiary songs to emerge from the last few years of turmoil. She goes on to imagine hurtling around Hollywood in a Cadillac, asking a fast-talking, bad boy God for his thoughts on the state of the world. “God would be drunk and laughing and smoking and telling me what a joke we all are and how we screwed it all up,” Barber-Way told author Melissa Broder in a conversation about Premonition, adding that “of course, God is hot.” At the end of the song the narrator strikes a match and tosses it towards LA, burning down the city and her old life along with it.
White Lung has been on accidental hiatus since 2017. The Canadian punk trio began work on Premonition late that year with a view to releasing it in 2019. Then everything changed. Barber-Way fell pregnant with her first child, then her second, entering a period of personal transformation against a backdrop of global chaos. Five years, two births and a pandemic later and Premonition captures the band in a final blaze of glory – after the foot presses flat on the gas pedal, but before the inevitable crash. Guitarist Kenneth William and drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou are at their most wild and driving, packing every inch of space with hectic riffs and high-speed aggression; Barber-Way, writing sober for the first time, puts down lyrics about adjusting to motherhood. What emerges are anthems of rebirth at the necessary end, in which we can count the constants. In this instance: fury, hope and fierce maternal love.