My friend Chris Harvey of the band I Was Awake has been in the studio working on the band’s follow-up album to their recent EP. In the meantime, though, Chris has released an intriguing album with his side project Autumn Above. After just one listen, I was immediately touched by their recent album, an album that may hit an emotional nerve to some listeners, and may just help someone in need.
Residing in Beverly, Massachusetts, Autumn Above consists of Chris Harvey on vocals/guitar/organ, Ryan Davison on vocals/guitar, Jim Joyce on guitar/vocals, and Sean Cahalin on drums/bass/vocals, with each member playing additional instruments. This album is a great integration of progressive rock and acoustic rock, with bits of indie rock and metal. The acoustic sound of their latest album “Blessed You’re Still” is perfectly fitting, considering the context and dedication of this album.
“Blessed You’re Still” is a very touching album, as it is dedicated to those who are victims of physical and sexual abuse. It is an anthem to the courage and strength of these victims, and a reminder of the love and support they have during their most difficult times. Each song’s lyrics deal with the thoughts and emotions felt by these victims, and is one of the only albums I’ve ever heard to have brought such a great feeling of mourning and sympathy. Although I have not personally been affected in this way, this album is truly moving, since I can only imagine the terror and pain that arises from such a situation. It seems only recently has this issue been brought to light and being taken seriously. To further this cause, all proceeds from their album release concert earlier this month went towards the non-profit organization RAINN. I feel for the band, and I commend Autumn Above for joining in the fight to prevent and end physical abuse. Thank you guys.
I had a chance to reach singers Ryan Davison and Chris Harvey, and asked for their thoughts on the album:
“This new album expresses the insecurities, fears, self-doubt, loneliness, shame, and rage that a survivor of sexual abuse might experience. It is also about finding the strength within and ways of coping with the emotions, memories and the endless quest for peace of mind. Writing the music and lyrics was an extremely painful, yet therapeutic process. I constantly had to put the project away to simmer on the back burner. I won’t lie, countless times I had contemplated scrapping the whole idea and moving on in silence.”
In coexistence with the cause and meaning behind this album, I can’t forget to mention that “Blessed You’re Still” provides almost an hour of excellent, acoustic rock. From the progressive sound of “I Carve Away,” to the instrumentals “The Voice” and “The Voiceless,” and to the jamtastic title track “Blessed You’re Still,” this album provides a variety of genre-hopping sounds. The mood shifts from anger to somber as the acoustic guitars strum away. For being an “acoustic” album, there are many moments of pure rock and roll. The band is not afraid to show some grit, especially throughout the song “Filthy.” The vocals are brilliantly executed by each vocalist, who remind me of professional singers Joey Eppard of 3 (Harvey), Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (Davison), and Travis Stever of Davenport Cabinet (Joyce). The album closes with passionate cries from the singers, with a heartfelt cry to those that have wronged them:
“At least I can say I’ll never be you / At least I can say I won’t be like you.” (source)
I highly encourage everyone to share this album to those who have become victims of physical or sexual abuse. For those seeking to help out the cause, please visit this page to learn more about Autumn Above’s contributions to RAINN. For those interested in the listening experience, I recommend this album to those that are fans of I Was Awake, Muse, Coheed and Cambria, and softer Alice in Chains. Please support Autumn Above by visiting their Bandcamp page, or by finding them on Facebook.