In the holes carved by loss, love is often the only thing left. Clinging to love in these voids becomes an act of resistance against the emptiness that looms and the walls that threaten to close in. Finding hope in hardship is a mighty crusade.
When writing How We Got By, Air Review frontman Doug Hale lost custody of a baby his family had fostered for a year. Due to a series of bureaucratic mistakes that were impossible to challenge, the child was placed with extended family that Child Protective Services had deemed unfit. “Our family was shocked and devastated,” he says. “We were mom and dad as far as he was concerned.” The child left the week after his first birthday.
Soon after, keyboardist Richard Carpenter, bassist Jeff Taylor and guitarist Dragan Jakovljevic were subsumed with varying and acute personal tragedies. Instead of quit or pause, the band continued to write songs, allowing the narrative arc of each member’s struggles to help define the lyrics and sounds of the record. Meditations on love, trauma and resilience pair with ultra melodic ’80s-influenced synth-pop, slinky R&B rhythms and sparkling guitar riffs, reflecting the panoply of emotions commensurate with loss and healing. “If you could have stayed I’d have never let you go / Love is the price I pay,” Hale sings on “You Won’t Be Coming Home,” as grooving bass pollinates blossoms of analog synth and guitar jangle.
Writing became a form of therapy for the Dallas-based quintet, a place to share burdens and turn them into something meaningful. The process of crafting these songs became an invaluable season. Denton, Texas-based producer Matt Pence (Centro-Matic, Sara Jaffe) and East Coast producer Scott Solter (St. Vincent, Spoon) honed the overall effect, resulting in 13 tracks and a brand new, pop-focused sound for the band. At its core, the album’s a celebration of basic humanity and the many painful and heartwarming events that connect us. Air Review’s hope is that it might bring joy or clarity to others who are struggling.
|“The song tells the story of frontman Doug Hale having to give his foster child away. It’s every foster parent’s nightmare come true, and sonically, it’s a modern, very chilled out and semi-electronic track. The juxtaposition of the theme to the vibe show an incredible depth that feels like growth and acceptance.” –Impose|
“It’s a gorgeous tune that’ll likely fit nicely into the sonic expectations of long-suffering admirers. Serene, moody and atmospheric, the keyboard works with the auto-tuned vocals of singer Douglas Hale in a supremely comforting way.” – Dallas Observer
“electronic pop shrouded in bitterness and sadness… Don’t let the vocoder effect on frontman Doug Hale’s voice scare you off. Pay attention to the lyrics and chorus, and we promise this song will wrap itself around you.” – Central Track
Dallas based indie rock band, Air Review, are black with a new album, How We Got By, due out June 21, 2019. The Dallas Observer writes, “It’s been a while since we last heard from Air Review. In 2013, it was hard for local music fans to avoid the indie-rock crew, thanks to its addictive single “America’s Son” receiving frequent airplay on KXT 91.7, in addition to their regular performance schedule. Another tune from Low Wishes, “Young,” was also given all sorts of rightfully deserved love from glossy publications and NPR.”
Interview says the band “combines wistful, nostalgic folk melodies with catchy electro beats.” That wistful nostalgia remains present in the upcoming release, even after the band pressed pause to focus completely on writing this new record. They dedicated themselves to finding a new sound and a new voice over. They learned new instruments, spent countless hours working on ideas together in their rehearsal studio followed by late nights on the back porch discussing ideas and inspiration. They kept at it, but it wasn’t quite working. The songs weren’t taking the right shape and they gave up on countless demo ideas until life circumstances and loss started to take over.
Now, Air Review shares the first single of the forthcoming album, “People Say Things Change,” viaImpose Magazine, who say, “A heartbreaking theme runs through the album, even through the grooves and wall of sound they create feels warm and inviting. The song tells the story of frontman Doug Hale having to give his foster child away. It’s every foster parent’s nightmare come true, and sonically, it’s a modern, very chilled out and semi-electronic track. The juxtaposition of the theme to the vibe show an incredible depth that feels like growth and acceptance.”
It was 2016 when frontman, Doug Hale and his family lost their foster child. Soon after, keys player Richard Carpenter’s girlfriend’s mother died. Later that year, bassist Jeff Taylor’s wife lost her father to a very sudden and aggressive brain cancer and guitarist Dragan Jakovljevic and his wife dealt with infertility. The band recognized that their experiences were a very normal part of life on the planet, yet they were heavy burdens to bare.
Through all of it, they never took a break because the writing and the time together became a kind of therapy — it was a place to share the burdens together, to process the feelings and turn them into something meaningful. The band found fresh inspiration from artists like Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, Anderson.Paak and Niki and the Dove.
In early 2017, the band hired Denton, TX based-drummer and producer Matt Pence (Here We Go Magic, Elle King, Sara Jaffe) along with east coast producer Scott Solter (St. Vincent, Spoon) to team up and help Air Review achieve a new sound. Together they produced a 12-track album that takes notes from 80’s synth pop, R&B, and classic rock — soaring melodies and good old fashioned guitar solos mixed in with analog synths and auto-tune make for brand new territory for the quartet. The lyrics are direct and raw — taken straight from the band’s experiences. Ideas about longing, loss, hope and resilience combine to tell a story of basic human experience. The shared process of crafting the songs was an important part of processing a season of life for Air Review. It truly is what helped them get by. Now, their only goal in releasing these songs is that maybe it will help someone else process whatever life has given or taken away from them.
TRACKLISTING – How We Got By
01. Sleepless Nights
02. You Won’t Be Coming Home
03. People Say Things Change
05. You Gotta Love Somebody
09. Get Me To Heaven
10. Morning Lights
11. Piece by Piece
12. See You Still
13. Fall Along