I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that most of you know about Flobots. You definitely listened to “Handlebars” an embarrassing amount at some point in your life, but something tells me that many of you never made it through a full through the impressive record that track came from, a politically charged bit of chaotic good called Fight with Tools. That record stuck with me for a few reasons. The band was able to marry influence ranging from acts like Rage Against The Machine to Wu-Tang Clan and do so gracefully– creating an album that made you want to stand up and do something. It’s been eleven long years since that album was released, but after hearing what Stay Inside has in store for y’all on The Sea Engulfs Us and the Light Goes Out, I can confidently say we’ve got a worthy successor on our hands.
The record opens with sprawling guitars under a smooth rap delivery that quickly transitions into the kind of shouty, staccato, spoken-word delivery of bands like La Dispute and Hotel Books. The Sea Engulfs Us is a record that is political by nature– speaking to the experiences of each of the band’s varied lives. Stay Inside pulls from everywhere — spanning multiple states, races, and gender identities allows the band to pull from varying perspectives and give a well-rounded group of song so entrenched in the politics of just existing that the myriad of influence and genre expression feels like a natural extension of each member individually.
When asked about the record, Stay Inside said: “This record is a collection of songs about fear, alienation, distrust, grief, and hate that each of us have experienced in our lives. But each song is infused with a hope, and a fire that we can change the realities we live in for the better. The title of the album is taken from a James Baldwin essay, the full quote being, “Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”
They continue, “The record ultimately is preaching this message, that if we stand together, we can hold back the darkness.” You can stream The Sea Engulfs Us and The Light Goes Out in full below.
The Sea Engulfs Us and the Light Goes Out is out February 23rd on Old Press Records. Snag your copy of the record here.