Friday, October 14, 2011
We Are Augustines - Rise Ye Sunken Ships (2011)
I only found out about Brooklyn trio We Are Augustines through an incredibly passionate review of the band’s debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships from Sam at MiddleClassWhiteNoise. In addition to Sam’s ardent desire for them to be heard, what really resonated with me was the backstory. Sometimes a band has some kind of cool backstory that makes them buzzworthy while having very little to do with who they are as a band. In the case of We Are Augustines, their backstory informs every second of their music.
Every verse, every chorus, and every lick of Rise Ye Sunken Ships is inspired by lead songwriter Billy McCarthy experiences of living in foster homes, being homeless, having both his mother and brother (who suffered from schizophrenia) commit suicide but in spite of all this, there manages to an almost ever-present feeling of hope. That despite all this tragic events there’s still some light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s hard not to want to empathize with the group after learning their backstory and yet, We Are Augustines are more than just some sob story. They’re talented musicians capable of creating an enriching and engaging album through the synthesis of their real life experiences into their music. They’re mostly acoustic rock style is hard-hitting, captivating, and distinctly memorable. The songs barrel into each other but not haphazardly – instead the group realizes its momentum and utilizes it to the best of their ability to create an album that moves quickly while never compromising what it is that it has to say. There’s ballads peppered throughout but they don’t bog things down, instead providing changes of pace and a much more noticeable emotional shifts. Rise Ye Sunken Ships is an album that manages to be equal parts emotional and energetic and always riveting. A definite must listen.
Get a taste of We Are Augustines with their new video for "Book of James":