Joy is a strange concept when you’re depressed or in pain. It’s a friend whose number you’ve lost years ago, and you start to forget the shape of their face. Sometimes, with the help of others or internal perspective shifts, you find that number under the couch, covered in dust. As you dial the numbers into your phone, excitement bubbles from nervous butterflies in the stomach, until they reach your heart. You begin to feel nourished as that conversation begins to feed you, and reaches your brain — unleashing the joy through your thoughts, what you see, what you hear, touch, feel… everything. It feels even more real with time, and the face of happiness is recognizable again, and you remember the contours of it’s face, the soft touch of it’s hand. You have your friend back and you feel transformed.
TENTS new album is all about this feeling, and it comes right on time as Spring finally warms us up, providing that much-needed vitamin D and rebirth not just for plants, but for emotions — especially joy. The 11-track record blooms with themes ranging from parenthood to ways to cope with inner turmoil, to the power of healing yourself as a way to help others.
For frontperson, Brian Hall, who writes the songs, these themes echo his experience. His wife, Amy, who is also in the band, was his partner through many of these transitions in life. He worked as a top-notch advertising composer, before committing to being in a band of his own. While this powerful life choice was happening, Amy was in the midst of spinal surgery and Brian had just been told he could not have children. So, they adopted. Then, Brian was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, right as they adopted their second child. The ups and downs got more intense as Brian was diagnosed with cancer.
Instead of feeling hopeless, joy became the focus. Beauty was just on the other side of each painful moment. We get to ride along with him on his journey from self-damaging thoughts to true gratitude, and loving the path — bumps and all. Hall says, “The title track depicts a wild animal playfully running in stride with an old station wagon. The deer is a commentary on the constant threads in life. The ideas, feelings, and moments in life that stick with us and carry us through.”
First single, “Back Yards” is about coming to grips with past behavior that doesn’t focus on resilience and introspection. Second single, “Light Light Weight” takes this theme further and shows, rather than tells, that power of acceptance that’s void of fear of judgment from others, or even oneself. Throughout the rest of the record, we delve deeper into the story, where Hall doesn’t preach to us, but rather shows us what’s possible from adopting this loving perception.
“Danger” is a fully charged song about getting out of whatever is keeping you stuck. Being impulsive doesn’t always have to have a bad connotation, and this track proves it. “Shoulder to Shoulder” is a sweet, heartfelt song that Brian wrote about Amy’s support during his cancer scare. The love is palpable here, as it is in “Lilly,” a which is easily the most personal track on the record and written about Brian and Amy’s daughter.
RECORD RELEASE TOUR DATES
5/9 – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA w/ Maltby and Matt Bishop (of Hey Marseilles)
5/10 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR w/ Siren and the Sea, Hustle and Drone
5/12 – The Observatory – Spokane, WA w/ Mini Murders and Summer in Siberia
5/25 – Bombs Away Cafe – Corvallis, OR w/ Kulululu and Brides
5/26 – Ventis – Salem, OR w/ Sleep Millennium (release show), Rebecca McDade, and Masq
01. Back Yards
04. Light Light Weight
06. Shoulder To Shoulder
07. Dopamine Crush
08. Modern Things
10. Deer Keeps Pace
11. Deer Keeps Pace Part 2