A Will Away released their much awaited, debut full-length record titled Here Again on March 3rd via Triple Crown Records.
The amount of buzz surrounding this release is astounding. When the album dropped at midnight EST, it seemed as if every A Will Away fan tweeted solely about Here Again for the rest of the night. The excitement has hardly faded, especially as the band continues their full US tour opening for UK band Moose Blood. Even before A Will Away announced this album, their music practically promoted itself. Listeners loved their first two EPs, Cold Weather and Bliss, so much that they’ve continuously kept up a hype surrounding A Will Away’s music. That enthusiasm strengthened when the band signed to Triple Crown at the end of 2015, re-released Bliss, and then put out three of those songs acoustically as More Bliss. I had the pleasure of seeing them on their 2015 summer tour with Head North, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating their first full-length ever since.
The wait for Here Again may have felt never ending, but it made my first listen to the record that much more rewarding. A Will Away broadly tackled the subject of existentialism, but in detail, wrote about finding ways to live day-to-day while simultaneously knowing there’s not a grand point to our lives in comparison to the vastness of the universe. It’s a lyrical subject that most artists don’t seem to touch on, but one that I’m sure many people will find comfort in when questioning their own purpose and beliefs. With theories of parallel universes, experiences of déjà vu and more floating around the Internet, existentialist thoughts are hard to avoid, so talking about the matter is important, especially when it can lead to dark headspaces.
The defining, opening title track, “Here Again,” sets the tone for both the sounds and the lyrical themes on this record. While there is this overarching theme of existentialism, there’s still plenty of room for listeners to interpret these songs in their own, unrelated ways. However, it’s lines such as, ‘We both want to believe there’s something bigger than this out there,’ in “Caroline,” and, ‘You don’t believe in anything and I don’t blame you,’ in “Better Reluctant,” where the questions of human purpose arise. A Will Away touched on these topics on Bliss, as well. One of their most iconic lines, which is even part of the design on the back of my 12” of the EP, is ‘But it doesn’t matter, ‘cause it never mattered,’ from “Be Easy.” The closing track on Here Again, “Something Special” calls back to that song in a more positive way with the lyrics, ‘Please know it truly doesn’t matter, it truly never did,’ as vocalist Matt Carlson sings about finding one’s purpose and living life unaffected by surrounding negativity. It’s a gentle ending to ease listeners back to reality, but the question of how we spend our time on Earth is sure to linger in fans’ minds.
A Will Away moved forward with the loveable emo/indie/pop-rock influenced sound they solidified with Bliss, but with 13 tracks on Here Again, the band notably had more wiggle room with how they shaped this record. Track four, “Chemicals,” and track 9, “Summon Your Savior,” show A Will Away’s more subdued side in short bursts. At less than two minutes each, these songs help make this record wonderfully paced, and show a different side of the band’s sound. Matt Carlson’s voice is a key element in making A Will Away’s sound distinguishable among their peers, and he shows off more of his potential on Here Again than we’ve heard from him on past releases. One of my favorite songs based on Carlson’s voice alone is “Crochet.” Throughout the whole album, the guitars dance along under his vocals ever so delicately, and keep things upbeat and moving along. The 33 minute full-length goes by quickly, but feels just right when it comes to a close.
A Will Away is just as impressive live as recorded, so if they’re coming to a city near you, then be sure you don’t miss them! They’re currently on tour with Moose Blood, so check out dates for that at awillaway.com/tour.