In case you hadn’t heard — the Connecticut duo Have A Nice Life are back with a new full-length album called Sea of Worry emerging November 8 via The Flenser. The band amplify the delicate but intricate dynamics that they work with to magnificent degrees on this release. The first and second halves of Sea of Worry vary at times dramatically in content, but the methodically unfolding musical expressions of a deeply personally relatable tension ensure that each note feels taken up into a larger, irresistibly poignant whole. Nothing really falls by the wayside here — even the quiet moments on this album feel enveloped into the band’s apparent vision of capturing some of the vestiges of this musical “civilization.”
Their new record ultimately feels like a captivating musical exploration of the psychological tension associated with our unique place in the modern world. There are several layers of juxtapositions that drive in this point — on the broadest level, the first four tracks on the record include driving post-punk songs that approach anthem status on repeated listens, while when the following three tracks come in, the band drop down into more direct musical contemplation. Track five doesn’t have a single lyric, and the thirteen minute final track includes an audio sample of a preacher pronouncing eternal damnation as music slowly but surely builds with self-reflective, self-critical lyrical feelings packed inside.
That’s another attention-grabbing moment — after perhaps settling into the groove of the band’s journey, Have A Nice Life roll out that gradually more unsettling audio sample from a seemingly real-world preacher. More broadly than that particular example, the band drive home the feeling of deeply unsettling, metaphysical questioning. Especially in those anthemic post-punk tracks, the band include plenty of somewhat surprisingly catchy guitar lines — and right alongside these moments, the band march on with their deconstructed punk music atmosphere. They have found the moment or moments before those self-confident bursts of energy captured elsewhere, and on Sea of Worry, Have A Nice Life have launched into full-on, sonic exploration of these darkly cavernous experiences. You never really know what you’re going to get when approaching those experiences and this release, and that’s part of the thrill.