This self-titled CD is the band’s second full-length release, and its first under the name Augustines (formerly We Are Augustines). The music is indie/alternative rock, with high-energy, soulful, emotion-filled arrangements and vocals that really pack a punch and at times sound like an updated Bruce Springsteen. The band’s first release — 2011’s “Rise Ye Sunken Ships” — was produced in the wake of tragedy: the deaths of lead singer/songwriter Billy McCarthy’s brother and mother less than six months apart. The band has described this album as a “walkabout” — an opportunity for the band members to take stock of where they’ve been and look forward to the more hopeful future that lies ahead. Highly recommended!
Recommended: 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 No FCCs detected.
1. (1:37) Intro (I Touch Imaginary Hands) – Short, music box-like opener — showcasing McCarthy’s emotive vocals and the band’s musicianship.
2. (3:44) Cruel City – Rapid-fire drums and roaring guitars. Growling lead vocals and full chorus backing. Anthem production — together with twinkling electric piano — that pays homage to Springsteen’s anthems of a previous generation. ****
3. (3:54) Nothing to Lose But your Head – Thundering drums, breakneck pace and U2-style guitar licks drive what may be an even bigger anthem than the previous track. ***
4. (4:09) Weary Eyes – Soaring melody. Another full arrangement with guitar, bass and drums — plus pulsing synth orchestration and background vocals.
5. (4:25) Don’t You Look Back – Guitar-driven anthem. Strong bass and drums. Great track performed live.
6. (5:01) Walkabout – Piano ballad, with driving middle. This song showcases what McCarthy can do when he’s not belting out the vocals. Nice transitions from slow to fast and back to slow again. Captures the heart and soul of the set. ***
7. (4:00) Kid You’re on your Own – Builds into another big number. Insistent bass gives the song its pace and urgency.
8. (4:37) This Ain’t Me – Nice interplay of synths and bass at the start. Drums provide pace partway in. Fun track with more layering and dynamics than the others. ***
9. (4:09) Now You Are Free – Mid-tempo rock with an edge. Big lead vocals with harmonies. Strong lyrics. Ends with an a cappella plea. ***
10. (3:32) The Avenue – Another piano ballad with McCarthy’s vocals soaring above.
11. (2:14) Highway 1 Interlude – Slow fade in on a synth interlude that musically sums up the band’s journey from its life-changing experiences of the past few years.
12. (3:35) Hold Onto Anything – March-like closing anthem. Big synth chords. Full background vocals.