Downstairs, All Ages
DOORS: 7:00 PM // SHOW: 8:00 PM
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Friday June 21, 2019
Tate would eventually graduate from college in New York (where he has lived for the last decade) only to be reunited thereafter with Ludwig-Leone in the band San Fermin. After two albums and sold out performances alongside St. Vincent, The National, and The Arctic Monkeys among others, the next step of Tate’s journey would be his 2016 solo debut Sleepwalker.
This album, which Paste described as “moving, melancholy, and informed by an otherworldly ambiance” was conceived between San Fermin tours during a three week trip to Copenhagen that Tate chose as a creative destination “because it was far away, I didn’t know anyone there and I wanted to be isolated while I was writing.” Trading solitude for human connection, Tate’s second foray into solo territory In the Waves is a purposeful examination of how feelings of self-doubt and anxiety are often alleviated by sharing. The album was recorded in just nine days with the indispensable help of producer-engineer John Agnello (Dinosaur JR, Phosphorescent, Kurt Vile). “John was like a spirit guide, sensei, and cheerleader,” Tate says further cementing In the Waves’ premise of sharing burdens.
Fitting of the water metaphor in its title, In the Waves possesses the power to both soothe and pummel, alternating between meditative verses and urgent hooks that solidify Tate’s brand of forthright folk and indie rock. While the album opens with a sunlit guitar riff ushered onward by drums that conjure the breezier side of surf-rock, Tate’s more forlorn facets begin to surface in the ardent electric guitar strums of “When Did I Get Like This”, and the palpable longing of pedal-steel-laden ballad “Queen of the Room”. At points In the Waves threatens to boil over, like on the bass-forward, blues-tinted title track, or in the searing pentatonic guitar solo of “Get Religious”. Still, the most visible face of the album is its propulsive hopefulness, best exemplified by the anthemic guitar melodies and uptempo drums of stadium-ready tracks like “Something Different” and “Aren’t You Tired”. In the Waves resolves peaceably on “Your Love Is Enough” wherein Tate’s signature baritone appears in turns with vocalist Claire Wellin resulting in a serene folk duet that buoys the message of connectedness at the core of the album.
In Tate’s own words “Declaring how I felt and what was going on was something I needed to do. It was literally making me ill to keep it in. It’s my hope that other people are able to find common feelings in these songs too. I don’t think the material is heavy but I think that’s kind of how it should be, that things that feel heavy and scary when kept to yourself can feel lighter and even uplifting when let out.” Let’s hope, for our sake, Allen Tate continues to do just that.