I’ve been back from Indianapolis for Post. Festival 2019 for a couple of days now, and I’m still positively buzzing from the experience. There will be plenty more thoughts and content to come from both myself and David in the coming weeks, but in the meantime we have the great fortune to premiere new music from one of the highlights of said weekend!
We’ve written a few times about Massachusetts’s Pray For Sound now (including another video premiere), most notably for their 2018 release Waiting Room, which was a drastic departure from the band’s previous bombastic and cheery brand of cinematic post-rock. That album was more serene and meditative, experimenting with building up intricate compositions from simple melodies and rhythms and infusing them with synths, electronics, and more. As is evidenced by the track we’re premiering here and the album as a whole, they have very clearly decided to not make that experimentation and growth an anomaly. Waves as a whole takes the band’s established sound in a bunch of unexpected and exciting directions, and the album’s title track is pretty much all of that in a microcosm. Check out that and the colorfully backlit video for it – directed by Chris LaRocque – below.
I caught up with guitarists Bruce Malley and Nick Stewart the day after their explosive Post. Fest set and talked to them a bit about the new album and the excellent title track above in particular. Stewart says that the foundational groove of the track — the pulsing bass pattern and rising synth line above it — came to him during a particularly stressful morning commute after a late night, and he frantically recorded himself singing parts into his phone. As he went to work and went through the normal motions of his day he promptly forgot what the song’s ideas were and had to refer back to his phone recordings to remind himself. He states that the track’s working title was “Dreams” as a reference to “when you have a dream and when you first wake up it’s super vivid, and it’s totally gone after 10 to 15 minutes.” The track name eventually became “Waves” as the band felt it was most representative of the mood of the album as a whole.
Of the album itself, when I ask how the band approached writing and producing it following the experimentations of Waiting Room, they had this to say:
It felt like Waiting Room was a good chance to get some more experience on the production side of things. We really felt like we used that as an opportunity to experiment with those things so we could take those elements and put them into the new record, Waves, but we knew we wanted that high-energy feeling we had on our previous records. So it was sort of about using Waiting Room as that step to, “Okay, this is how we work in the studio and these are the sounds we can make. Let’s do our thing, let’s get in a room and jam and work up a demo and work these elements into that.”
Speaking as someone who has heard (and thoroughly enjoyed) the new record in its entirety, I can vouch for that assessment. Like the title track itself, Waves takes the more production-heavy elements and building block compositional methods of Waiting Room and combines it with the band’s penchant for aurally addictive hooks and majorly positive energy into a groovy and massively fun sound explosion.