Superheaven “I’ve Been Bored”
Being in a band can be a lot of things. It can be fun. It can be exciting. It gives you the chance to meet new people all the time. It lets you travel the country and, if you’re really lucky, the world with some of your closest friends. It can give you experiences that little else can. But it can also be hard work. It can be exhausting. It takes up a lot of time and energy. Because, if you do it for the right reasons, you put your entire heart and soul into it. You let it swallow you whole. That’s exactly what Superheaven did with its 2013 debut, Jar – released when the band was called Daylight – and it’s precisely what it has done with the follow-up Ours Is Chrome.
Yet whereas the first record was inspired by and focused on the bad stuff that had recently happened, most notably the death of guitarist/vocalist Taylor Madison’s stepfather, Ours Is Chrome is very much about the trials and tribulations of putting everything you’ve got into being in a band and making it work. That’s something Superheaven – completed by guitarist/vocalist Jake Clarke, bassist Joe Kane and drummer Zack Robbins – know all about.
“We’re in the spot,” explains Madison, “where we’re touring a lot and we’re probably away more than we’re home. We’re making enough money to allow us to tour and do certain things, but the band doesn’t pay our bills. Me and Joe are in our late 20s, and everyone else I went to school with that’s our age is either married or has kids or has a career, and we kind of don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. So the title refers to how our lifestyle is chrome – to someone who doesn’t really understand being in a band, to family members and people that you work with, if you’re in a band then you might as well be famous. They don’t understand there’s way more that goes into it. It looks shiny on the outside and stuff, but it is what it is. I’ve been in bands my whole life and that’s all I have to do, so it’s a little bit of a scary thing to put so much time and energy into something and really not know what you’re getting out of it in the end.”
That’s something that comes across perfectly in the music. Just listen to slow-motion melancholy trudge of “Room,” the post-grungey nuances of “Gushin’ Blood” and the epic, ominous catharsis of “From The Chest Down,” which careens and crashes with a fragile yet monolithic force. Produced – like the band’s debut – by Will Yip, Ours Is Chrome is an album that takes the insecurities it was made from and breathes powerful, affirmative life into them.
“I’ve had numerous hardships my whole life,” says Madison. “I’ve been poor my whole life, my whole family’s been poor my whole life and I’ve never had anything given to me. That benefits me at least in how I conduct myself as a person. I don’t take anything for granted.”
For Madison, the center of the record is “Leach,” a darkly shimmering song on which both he and Clarke share lead vocal duties, and which directly addresses exactly what this band means to its members.
“It’s kind of about touring and being away a lot and not making a lot of money,” he explains. “My family’s not financially secure by any means, they haven’t been my whole life, and I definitely wish that I could do more to help my parents out, help my sisters out, financially speaking. I barely make money to survive, let alone help my mom pay rent or make a car payment or something like that and that’s definitely hard. And I think that sort of stuff weighs on your conscience. I think overall the record is almost apologetic. It’s asking for forgiveness from a lot of people – in my life, at least – just because I feel bad. I feel almost selfish sometimes, like I tour a lot and I’m not there that much and that sucks. And I feel that kind of thing isn’t talked about all that much, but it weighs on me a lot.”
As such, Ours Is Chrome consists of eleven impassioned, emotionally heavy songs that drift effortlessly between genres and which channel the band’s insecurities and determination and sees the four-piece turn their feelings inside out to produce a collection of songs that are simultaneously confident and downcast, full of the emptiness of the world yet also resplendent. It’s a soul search, a quest for meaning that, somewhat ironically, is its own answer, its own salvation.
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