The Boston band HarborLights unroll a deeply emotionally illuminating, intense portrait of getting detached from mental and emotional moorings on their new album Isolation Ritual, available in full on September 13 via Deathwish Inc. The band’s musical journey feels firmly grounded in “humanity,” like they’ve taken some of the at-times unwieldy, metaphysical aspects of post-rock and planted a personal vantage point right in the middle of it all.
Fitting the Pieces Together
They’ve drawn from their personal perspectives in crafting this journey, and the music thereby lands with an intimate emotional resonance, like in the midst of the massive, duly proceeding cacophony, the center individual gets scooped up into safety.
“It’s definitely been heavily inspired but what’s happening around us,” the band explain. “Our writing has always been a very personal process that focuses on things that are happening close to home. There’s a particularly sharp lens on where we are in the world and how we are choosing to interface with it.”
That personality helps lead into the unique practical nature of this creation. While they drench the music in immersive sonic atmosphere, they’ve also got plenty of truly heavy parts, and the cohesively-incorporated variety goes well on from there.
“We didn’t really come into it with a specific vision in mind,” they note. “The idea was to put together a collection of songs that we thought were our best possible. As time went on, themes started to make themselves known and the record became a much more cohesive look at human interaction and the lack thereof.”
Shining Through the Fog Ahead
Bringing the potency of their free-flowing compositional style further into focus, they add: “While this style was never really a conscious choice, it’s proven to be a great way for us to express what we’re trying to say. Being able to fluctuate between bursts of loud and harsh sections right next to quiet and delicate parts helps us create the tension these topics deserve.”
Although numerous tracks on Isolation Ritual have no lyrics, the lyrical themes that HarborLights do cover include poetically careful and intimate explorations of the feelings inherent in those breakdowns in communication that they mention. On the opening track “Hold The Dark,” for instance, vocalist Matthew Wright sings with his substantive but gentle contributions: “I don’t have it in me anymore/ I don’t have the words like I used to/ Say, that when the world breaks, you’ll stay with me a little while/ My body is so tired.”
In a way, the themes feel timeless and like a sonic encapsulation of the very human experience of something like standing on a seashore and confronting volatile magnanimity. Additionally, they’re also deeply rooted in our specific present day, considering the concern some have about the future of communication in the face of industrial development.
The band will be keeping their own practical “light in the wilderness” going indefinitely into the future.
“There’s going to be a lot of touring in our future,” they share, noting the bonus that they’re “huge fans” of the bar games they might find along that way. “We’re trying our best to get to the places that we haven’t been able to play before. We want to make sure that we can play these songs in as many places as possible. We’re incredibly proud of the album and are super hopeful that the people who hear it do enjoy it as much as we do.”
Listen to some of the music and preorder below.
Throughout the rest of 2019, HarborLights will be on tour.
Catch them all around the eastern United States, including at:
- September 13 Cambridge, MA @ Newbury Comics **in-store appearance**
- September 21 Revere, MA @ Sammy’s Patio **record release show**
- September 27 Lancaster, PA @ Station One Center for the Arts
- September 28 Falls Church, VA @ VFW Post 9274
- September 29 Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone
- October 1 Augusta, GA @ Soul Bar
- October 2 West Columbia, SC @ New Brookland Tavern
- October 3 Raleigh, NC @ Slim’s
- October 4 Baltimore, MD @ The Sidebar
- October 5 Philadelphia, PA @ The Pharmacy
- October 12 Allston, MA @ Great Scott
- October 19 Portland, ME @ Apohadian Theater
- October 20 Albany, NY @ Pauly’s Hotel
- October 27 Salem, MA @ Opus