Surroundings – the group coming from the most isolated city on the planet, surrounded only by ocean or desert, are back with a banger. Before being sent their new single, “The River’s Edge” off the upcoming album Glass Heart I had not heard of Surroundings – I’m pleased to say this is no longer the case. With a diverse range of tracks spaced out over a now eight-year period, the boys from WA have had plenty of time to find their sound; and it’s solid.
The introduction of this song is very well laid out in its approach. It sets the scene for analysis of anxiety and stagnation though portrays a certain uplifting spirit in its composition. The initially airy drums, sweet guitar riff and earthy bass tones devise a sense of calm and rhythmic composure as you await the next sequence. The enlivened introduction is then met with a stark juxtaposition in its lyricism. We are forthrightly told “This isn’t who I want to be, this isn’t where I want to stay”; a message that conflicts within itself as a negative in the now whilst also maintaining the possibility to be viewed as a notion of determination to make a change for the future.
I noticed that there is a repeating theme within this track that one need not feel disgusted with themselves, more so that we feel a need to improve without necessarily wanting to let go of everything that we are – this is a tricky proposition; nevertheless, it is a relatable one. There are some aspects of life you just can not run from.
We briefly get a taste of the track to come as the vocal picks up before restraining itself again successfully building the anticipation of the hard-hitting tune.
“I’ll take this all one day at a time before I fall.”
Another call to the resolve we all must face at times, the above line is delivered with real meaning and angst; almost in frustration that this is all we can do, yet also a feeling of some resolution having been provided or rather, realised.
Concerning format, there is a solid base here. Surroundings have crafted a piece that transitions between sequences almost effortlessly – there is no feeling of stress in its structure. Additionally, it is a melting pot of post-hardcore riffs and groovy slams that are linked together by some very solid drums and passionate vocal harmonies. Surroundings are moving in a forward direction without losing their post-hardcore roots they have come to be known for.
I see an extreme potential for crowd interaction in this track. I feel as if the band pre-empts this when writing their tunes as it seems they have become quite proficient at creating catchy hooks and choruses that a crowd can sing along with. Being able to shout alongside a band can make a significant impact on the impression a live show leaves upon its audience, especially when performed with as much feeling as Surroundings have done here.
Simply put, the drums kick arse and still come through crispy on a crappy laptop speaker; however, they really shine through some nice headphones. The guitars are tight and the tones are pretty mellow, but when the bouncy tones come in, they hit hard. The bass is well represented, acting as a strong backbone for the song and that’s just dandy. Finally, the vocals are well thought out and there are some intimate harmonies as well as harsher vocals that fans of Surroundings will no doubt vibe with.
I feel the group have made a smart decision releasing “The River’s Edge” as one of the singles for the upcoming Glass Heart release. It is another track that displays their ability to vary their sound within the scene, without losing a sense of direction or purpose.
This song feels as if it is a delve into the extreme discomfort that those with anxiety face on a daily basis. With bold use of lyrical imagery to paint a picture of self-analysis, reflection and healing it is a track I am sure many fans will be able to relate to.
For fans of post-hardcore, I would say you’ll likely enjoy this. For fans of Surroundings, you’re likely to love it. I look forward to the release of Glass Heart dropping March 1st, 2019.