It is said that rock ’n’ roll is territory for the young, that the need and desire to make something large and loud and slightly unhinged lessens in the face of families and careers and all the associated responsibilities.
I’ve never bought into that, and clearly Debt of Nature agrees.
A true Augusta survivor, Debt of Nature first began playing stages such as the Red Lion and Squeaky’s Tip-Top in the late ’80s, combining equal parts jangle and feedback wash to build a very particular guitar pop sound that suited their thoughtful and often personal lyrics exceptionally well.
The band spent a decade or so on hiatus, finally emerging in 2008 to record a track for a 12 Bands compilation and briefly re-form to perform.
Since then, there have been occasional sightings – most around the holidays – and an oft-whispered promise of new recordings. We are recording, the band reported. The album is coming, we were promised, later this year. And so it went, year after year.
A new Debt record became something of a rock Sasquatch, always seen in the distance and never clear as to what it might be.
The problem with this sort of extended, unfulfilled promise is, of course, that the final product rarely matches the expectations that have been allowed to build over time. Call it the Guns N’ Roses theorem. There’s no way a record waited for and anticipated over years and years can possibly feel completely satisfactory.
Well, that’s usually the case, anyway.
You see, Debt of Nature has, in fact, released a new record titled Departure. No low-key piece of dad rock, nor poetic waxing over the trials and tribulations of middle age, it’s a raucous record that feels fully-formed, mature and complete. It may, in fact, be the best representation of the Debt of Nature ethos of the band’s career.
While the hallmarks of the Debt sound are still clearly evident – songs of yearning, learning and occasional regret backed by a mighty sense of melody never lost in the band’s wall-of-sound approach – there’s a maturity on Departure that makes it a far more interesting set of songs.
Be it the relatively quiet opener Heaven, a song that would have been a comfortable fit on the A-side of Rust Never Sleeps, or the substantially louder Get Anywhere, a short, sharp tribute to the British shoegaze movement, there’s a real sense of communicating where this band has been and, more to the point, where it is going, in these songs.
The resulting record is dynamic, entertaining and very, very smart. It’s a record that feels comfortable without seeming safe and sonically adventurous without becoming overbearing. It’s a record that, in fact, doesn’t match its hype.
It exceeds it.
Debt of Nature will celebrate the release of Departure on the final night of Sky City’s annual Festivus of Bands local music celebration Saturday, Dec. 20.
Who else is in the Festivus of Bands lineup?
Wednesday, Dec. 17: Caleb Tokarska, Happy Bones and Friends
Thursday, Dec. 18: Famous Last Words (two sets), Blues Set, Led Zeppelin Set
Friday, Dec. 19: Wycliffe Gordon & The Nu Funk Revolution
Saturday, Dec. 20: Deathstar, Debt of Nature, Night People, Noel Brown, Naan Violence, Sure Eel, Shoo Fly Pie
HIDDEN TREASURE. Be it a live-music venue, a karaoke parlor or simply a quiet place to enjoy a drink with friends, the Fox’s Lair, the tiny Olde Town bar that traces its roots back to the early 1980s, remains the perfect amalgamation of bar, venue and welcoming living room. Over the years its fortunes have risen and fallen, but it remains a favorite for those that find it, still tucked away in perhaps the most quiet corner of the city. Find it at 349 Telfair St.