Right now it’s August 12th 2016 – just an ordinary Friday for some, but for others, it’s the big release day for “This Could Be Heartbreak”, The Amity Affliction’s 5th full length album. And boy, was it worth the wait.
As per tradition, I woke up this morning and listened to the album from front to back (unfortunately on digital, because my darn pre-orderered vinyl didn’t arrive on time! But that’s another story), not caring that I would get to work with mere minutes to spare. I didn’t leave the house until I had heard all 13 songs in full, and made sure that I was able to read the lyrics as I heard them. If that’s not something you usually do with a new album then DO IT IMMEDIATELY. It unlocks a whole new level to each song, and you definitely feel like you’re in the songwriter’s head that little bit more; which for Amity can be a dangerous thing, as many of the themes are not your average dinner table topics (think depression, anxiety, suicide and alcoholism) but they described in such a hauntingly beautiful manner that you almost forget what heavy experiences actually aspired the lyrics.
Anyway, I’m totally and utterly shit at anything to do with music or gig reviews – I’ll be the first to admit that. It’s definitely not one of my strong points; albeit one that I am really passionate about. Sometimes I just find myself struggling to get the adjectives out that can genuinely describe how certain songs made me feel, so I end up mentally scrunching up a piece of paper and adding it to the pile next to the bin.
I won’t go too much into an album review, but I will note some of my faves so far. Aside from I Bring The Weather With Me and This Could Be Heartbreak (because do they really count as album faves if they were pre-released singles? Probably, but I like to divert from the curve), I am really loving OMGIMY (pretty sure that’s going to become a female favourite. Nothing like a man writing/singing ‘oh my god I’m missing you’ to make your heart melt into a big, fat mushy puddle), Some Friends, Note To Self, Nightmare and Wishbone. So basically half the album, which is definitely cheating, but can ya blame me? It’s a solid mix, and I’m really loving it.
So far, there’s been a lot of mixed reviews about the album, with a lot of people whinging that they’ve strayed from their ‘Youngbloods’ sound (an album they released 6 YEARS AGO in 2010) and then others completely loving how they’ve taken their classic Amity sound and injected some fresh concepts into the album. I don’t want to delve into it too much, because I’m planning to do another post regarding the evolution of bands and their sound, but I will say this: to any fans out there still wanting the same genre from 6 years ago: GROW UP. Amity have, and they’ve not only evolved as a band and had various member changes since 2010, but they’re also all 6 years older and have had a lot more life experiences that have clearly reflected how their music has adjusted and grown. It’s the same with every band who’s been together for such a period of time. Although to be perfectly honest, I can still pick their songs out from just a couple of seconds. Maybe I’ve been listening for too long, or maybe their music hasn’t changed that darn much. Either way, I’m sure there will still be some people who read this and think “just your typical fan girl defending a band she likes” when really it’s just “girl with a brain who is commenting on a topic of conversation”.
But what I really wanted to write about when I ‘planned’ this post was how Amity’s music essentially saved my life. I won’t go into too much detail, because it’s kind of a long and messy topic but let’s just say that I don’t know what type of gal I’d be without their influence. So many people hear hardcore or metal music and just assume that it’s horrible noise yelling about silly things, but if you’ve taken 30 seconds to read through the lyrics to one of those songs, then you’d know that is so far from the truth. I remember when I first got into the heavier scene – being recommended The Getaway Plan’s ‘Where The City Meets The Sea’. I don’t know anyone who’s heard that song that doesn’t fall in love with it. From there, my friend sent me a link for Amity’s ‘Fruity Lexia’ and I remember watching the film clip over and over and over and OVER, and from there I was hooked.
Last night I started thinking about what was happening during my life when each album was released, starting with Youngbloods in 2010. Now, this is probably going to be boring as hell and irrelevant for a lot of you, but I think it’s nice to document these things and reflect every now and then. So here it is, a brief history of my life with Amity.
Man, this was a low point. I was in Year 10 at school and lots of things were going wrong for me. I guess I was trying to figure out who I was as a person, and what I wanted my life to be like. I was a 15 year old girl living in a small, isolated town, and all the friends I had held so dearly seemed to be distancing themselves from me because of how trapped I was feeling. Weipa was suffocating me, and Youngbloods was my life vest. I had it on repeat constantly; listening to it every lunch time and every class I was able to, as well as to and from school and every waking moment in between. It became the soundtrack to my life, and songs like I Hate Hartley and Anchors were the anthems that resinated with my poor, confused soul. I remember deciding to get some of the lyrics tattooed on me as soon as I was 18, and possibly earlier if I was able. I had never experienced music that spoke to me on such a personal level, and even now listening to the record brings up all sorts of mixed feelings, but always: gratitude.
2012: Chasing Ghosts
Fast forward 2 years and SO much had happened. I had lived out of home for 6 months – in another town no less, which meant that I had to completely start over again; friends, school, house, the lot. It was exactly what I needed because I was able to completely reinvent myself, and I moved back home feeling stronger and rejuvenated. I was in a much more positive mental state, and was finally beginning to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I remember all of the hype surrounding Chasing Ghosts, and all of the drama the cover photo caused when it was finally revealed. I also remember feverishly checking the countdown clock Amity had set up on their website and ordering at least 2 separate pre-order bundles because I needed that skate deck and couldn’t decide on the shirts. When the album was finally released, I was in love. Again, I listened to it during every available moment at school and home, even choosing to use some of their lyrics for my final art project. Bondi St Blues, Flowerbomb and Pabst Blue Ribon On Ice were the tracks of the hour, and despite forgetting about it for quite a while (idiot move, Vivienne) I rekindled my love for it last year and remembered what a solid record it is.
2014: Let The Ocean Take Me
Again, so much had changed. I was approaching the end of my adventure living in Brisbane, and was getting ready to quit my university course to pursue another one. I was lucky enough to attend a meet and greet at JB Hifi in the city, right before I left lovely old Brisbane. I lined up in Queen St for HOURS, and when I finally got to meet the band I had nothing monumental to say other than “I love your music” and was idiotic enough to get my CD signed for my dumbass boyfriend. ANYWAY, after all of the hype for it, I don’t even remember ever listening to it front to back until a year or so after it was released. I guess you could say things were rough at the time, and our shitty relationship kind of ruined that album for me for a while, because it always reminded me of our fighting and yeah… Now, I really like it. Faves were Don’t Lean On Me, Forest Fire, F.M.L. and Never Alone, and although I didn’t have the same connection to LTOTM as I do with the other albums, I still love it because, well, Amity.
2016: This Could Be Heartbreak
After a giant year of travel, partying and re-self-discovery last year, my love for music and Amity in particular returned and is stronger than ever. I finally feel healed enough to be able to listen to any given song and not have any negative feelings attached to it, which is a pretty nice feeling. So when Amity finally released Shine On last year, I was ecstatic as hell. It instantly became my favourite song by them. Everything about it was just perfect, and it made me even more excited for the expected release of their new album this year. I have definitely followed the album lead up closely this year, and was lucky enough to snag tickets to one of their Brisbane shows next weekend. I was pretty darn excited when I heard on Triple J that they would be doing a 2-part video releasing the first two singles off the album, and man was it a heartbreaker. The first time I watched the clip for This Could Be Heartbreak I got a little teary. “He didn’t want to go, he wanted to live in the end” I whimpered to James, trying to pretend that the video didn’t make me turn into a giant baby. But geez Amity, you know how to punch a gal in the feels. I’ve already mentioned what my favourite songs are so far, and it will be nice to look back on this time of my life and just have positive things to reflect on, including just how flipping much I love this album.
So thanks boys, in the unlikely event that you’ll ever read this, for producing some of the best music I’ve heard, and being that trusty anchor when I needed you most.
Till next time,