Wednesday, 26 March 2014

AUGUSTINES - Self Titled album

To mark a new name, attitude and record, indie band Augustines formerly known as We Are Augustines are set to release self-titled album February 3rd 2014. Following publication of their debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships in 2011, the band have left behind their heartbreak and come back fighting with a record packed with cheer-filled anthems and expectant choruses.  Previously admired for their ‘scrappy vitality’ and ‘gruff yet sophisticated rafter-raising’ (SPIN), Augustines’ new album encompasses exactly that. The Brooklyn-born trio is the success of former indie rock outfit Pela, of which Eric Sanderson and Billy McCarthy were members. McCarthy forms the band’s guitar lines, whilst Sanderson accompanies on bass, vocals and keys. With the addition of drummer Rob Allen, Augustines formed and moved camp to Seattle.
The first single of the band’s second album ‘Nothing To Lose But Your Head’ also features Al Hardiman, a British musician joining the group for upcoming Walkabout Tour; Sanderson has sung his praises, calling him “a very talented artist who we have a strong connection with”. Hardiman’s multi-instrumentalist flair sails over the track’s rough vocals and melodies, in a harmonious union of talents.  The track reflects the album’s move from the haunting despair of early LP Rise Ye Sunken Ships; rather than dwelling on past devastation, ‘Nothing To Lose But Your Head’ is cathartic and on the brink of carefree, as Sanderson sings ‘Your heart is blown  apart…But now you got nothing to lose but your head’. The song is a whirlwind realisation of the present, and in Sanderson’s words, the recognition that “there is no right time, so go – ya got nothing to lose but your head”. These sentiments are echoed throughout the album; ‘Cruel City’, ‘Don’t You Look Back’ and ‘Now You Are Free’ in particular present the glow of hope and glee amidst McCarthy’s addictive raw vocals. In the latter tune, the words ‘You gotta let go, let go of all your ghosts’ are delivered with punch and vitality; the noises coming from this band are truly magnetic. Yet with this renewed energy does not come the loss of Augustines’ gentler tones. ‘The Avenue’ sings of grief, surrender and the longing for a new start, whilst the elegiac ‘Walkabout’ paints injury amongst softer vocals and heavy chords. Still, through this evocative combination shines glimmers of gusto in the latter half of the song. The chorus builds, faster, louder and freer in a crescendo of energy and a bout of striking confidence; something in this album resonates with the thriving rock band Goo Goo Dolls.

The beauty of this band is its ability to carry a rare human quality within their work; it is this personal eminence which forms the basis for much of their labour. As Sanderson explains, "Like most things in life we found that the most important thing was right in front of our faces. People. Interacting with people, inspiring them and being inspired by them is all that matters in life, so we built this record with other people in mind”.  Augustines recorded their new masterpiece in a converted 19th century church in Geneseo, New York, the house of Temperamental Recordings. After a four minute sell-out for their Lexington show in London, Augustines are in line for a successful year. Also performing at Camden’s Koko on April 14th, the band are on the road this Easter. It’s a date for the diary.

Words - Claudia Turnbull