Anos de atividade
2007 – 2012 (5 anos)
Local de fundação
Austin, Travis County, Texas, Estados Unidos
There is a fragility coating the sweeping songs of The Soldier Thread; it’s scrawled on every measure and delicately interwoven with each chilling harmony. It’s a sound that creeps into the room with a wispy ambiance, allowing for a tangible vulnerability. But suddenly, each calculated melody comes crashing together, and the dynamic shifts. The sound begins to swell with a vibrant chorus, and the fragility gives way into something more powerful, more meaningful. For The Soldier Thread, this comes as second nature. For the rest of us, it comes as breathtaking.
“Mend Your Heart With Soldier Thread”. So goes the mantra of the Austin-based quintet. Their songs are saturated in the themes of unrequited love, driven by vibrant transitions and haunting atmospheres. The result is part Stars, part Explosions in the Sky, dabbling equally in indie pop bliss and post-rock poignancy. Depending on your perspective, it’s either the sound of a heart breaking, or of one being put back together.
The Soldier Thread’s unofficial formation was in the quiet rooms of songwriter/pianist/guitarist Justin McHugh and guitarist Todd Abels in Austin, Texas. After recruiting violist/singer Patricia Lynn and drummer Drew Van Diver, the group found its footing; filling up the tracks that would make up their demo EP Fevers and Fireworks (they would later add bassist Chance Gilmore). The talent of the band was evident on the EP, and when people started taking notice The Soldier Thread was given the opportunity to record their debut full-length, Shapes, with one caveat: they wanted to do it right.
“The plan was to do it correctly, or what we thought was correctly,” explains McHugh in the smoky confines of the band’s practice space. “There’s a big difference between watching some band that just puts itself out there without any real preparation and watching a band that’s really well rehearsed. I’ve always taken the well rehearsed bands more seriously, and that is what we’ve all been striving for since the beginning.”
The band’s determination comes through on Shapes, an album brimming with bittersweet undertones and an indisputable effervescence. Shapes isn’t a debut so much as it is an arrival; the introduction to a sound that is as ephemeral as it is gripping. It’s the soundtrack to our lives, providing a lush backdrop of heartrending viola, climaxing guitars, and driving percussion. “Shapes is all of us coming together,” says Abels.
With that sound, the band has ascended from under-the-radar to Austin’s-next-big-thing in just over a year. They were selected as a finalist for Spin’s “Hot Pursuit” contest and their music was featured on MTV’s “The Real World: Hollywood”. More importantly, they were able to spend the time with producer Lars Göransson (What Made Milwaukee Famous, The Cardigans, Johnny Goudie) to ensure that Shapes encapsulated the band. “Obviously, we went from recording our first album with a friend to a totally different experience, different ball game,” details McHugh. “I think the album is going to be great. There are some gorgeous songs on it.”
Gorgeous almost sells the tracks short. “Cannons” shines with an infectious chorus that would make Death Cab for Cutie and Denali proud, while “In the Sky” begins with spacious, Mercury Program-like tones before erupting into a foray of climactic instrumentation. The tracks range from airy to epic, but all have a common thread throughout that is entirely The Soldier Thread. “I think it was a U2 interview I saw where they said something like, ‘You can never try to write like anyone else,’” laughs McHugh. “I’ve tried to write like a few bands I really like, but it’s never come out sounding any different than everything else I’ve written. So I guess this is the sound I am going to create regardless of how I try to write.”
On Shapes, that sound was given room to breathe. Whereas Fevers and Fireworks was primarily written with limited instrumentation, Shapes presents a band realizing its potential. “When I was writing for the EP, I was limited to what the two of us could do on our own,” details McHugh. “I really didn’t think about writing for anything outside of piano, guitar, and a few other things. Now, after having done a record in what we feel is the right way, I realize I can bring in string quartets, horns and other instruments. Now I’m starting to arrange strings and use more electronics and programming because I know that I can write whatever I want and we’ll find a way to realize it.”
While the story of The Soldier Thread is barely on its opening chapter, the band faces the future with energized anticipation. “I like motion. Progress. Let’s get on this train, let’s go,” says Lynn of the experience. “It’s definitely day-by-day, but…there’s stuff happening every day that’s probably not so common.” As her ethereal voice weaves through the notes of the opener, “Run Run”, “common” is the last word that comes to mind. Rather, it shows a stunning glimmer of everything the band is, as well as what it can become.
That idea of progress seems to be a common theme for the band. “You know when you were younger and you played with Legos?” asks McHugh. “Remember when you were done building…you kind of just didn’t play with it that much? It was more about building things. That’s it for me. As soon as we’ve written the music and sent off the demo for them to hear, I’m done with it.” The one exception is in the band’s impossibly polished live show, where the range of the tracks is fully on display.
“I feel, as a band, we’ve come quite far, really honing our talents and becoming much tighter,” says McHugh. “In a short amount of time,” finishes Lynn. Though the story of The Soldier Thread is just beginning, each spine-tingling crescendo is a reminder that under all those guitars and strings is a collection of beating hearts. The Soldier Thread is driven by an emotive, personal quality; a certain passion that resonates through each starry moment. Maybe they can mend some broken hearts, after all.
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