Portland’s Alien Boy know their songs are sad. Not that there’s really any denying that fact. Since their 2015 debut EP, Never Getting Over It, they set their intention of exploring the darker end of their feelings – with a cover of The Smiths’ “Hand In Glove” to boot. But ruminating on sadness has historically proven to be an effective means of understanding yourself and finding some sort of inner peace in the process. Having some killer post-punk guitar tone and sensational, swirling melodies delivered through Sonia Weber’s exceptional vocals is just the cherry on top of the band’s cathartic sundae. The band is gearing up to release their debut album, Sleeping Lessons on August 31 via Tiny Engines. The LP’s first single, “Somewhere Without Me,” might just be one of the best distillations of how the band can turn their sadness into heart-swelling, relatable anthems.
“I wanna be adored,” Weber howls in an homage to The Stone Roses before adding, “But no one does it right.” Later in the song, Weber changes the last half of the line again to “I just can’t do it right.” The surges of watery, heavy guitars underscore the sentiment of loneliness and isolation that can feel overwhelming, like a boulder weighing on your chest. It’s a certain brand of loneliness that extends beyond just not feeling wanted, but extending into not feeling loved by yourself. The song hardly ever lets up from its chugging rhythms and blasting noise, making it so Weber has to keep raising her voice and be heard against the chaos. As she yells “you want to be somewhere without me,” you can feel all that regret, anger, frustration, and self doubt bellowing from her voice. Even in a song that’s about being alone, there’s a communal bond within those emotions that transcends the music and beats its way into the listeners ear drums. I think they call that “catharsis.”
Weber gives additional insight on the song:
"I think ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ by the Stone Roses is one of the best songs of all time. When I hear it I can't believe someone came up with a sentiment that perfect. I related so much I had to write a song that snuck that line in. This song, like most of the songs on the record, is about being devastated. The verses sound a little panicked as it recalls memories of special moments that lead you to the easy conclusion, that they just don't wanna be around anymore."
Alien Boy plays Black Water in Portland this Saturday with Little Star (which also features members of Alien Boy), Surfer Rosie, and Vari Vice. Pre-orders for Sleeping Lessons are available now.
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