Pela was a four-member band from Brooklyn that crafted strong alt-rock songs of electric folk/punk with only a single full-length set of songs (other than their two EPs, All in Time, and the download-only set, Exit Columbia Street) to note their passage down Music Boulevard. Anytown Grafitti, released in 2007, contained a set of reliable, if somewhat varied tracks that gave their debut street cred, an important element these days with the proliferation of music in the pipes.
But, due to indecision and turmoil, the band split after a few years, leaving their legacy to memory without a chance to grow. When it seemed as if the book had closed, Pela founding members Billy McCarthy and bassist Eric Sanderson resumed course with a new band, calling themselves We Are Augustines. They recruited the help of drummer Rob Allen and the new three-piece band was on its way to finish what was started with Pela.
The new album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, is
a contained collection of tracks that were largely finished and meant
for Pela's sophomore release. After several sessions to re-record
the songs, the band felt that they had what would be wonderfully
representative of We Are Augustines. Some of the songs from the new
album are highly personal, especially given the tragic history of
Billy McCarthy's family. His mother and brother both suffered from schizophrenia, with both committing suicide as a result.
With so much pain and anguish in the mix, and the need to relinquish the tightly held ghosts,
the new album stands to be a powerful personal journey into shadowed regions.
The band precedes the album with a single release, the Springsteen-like “The Book of James,” a song that explores McCarthy's mother and brother on what is a great track, perhaps greater than anything that can be heard on Pela's Anytown Graffiti. A visit to the band's website will stream that track, along with another, “Chapel Song”. You can actually download “The Book of James” for the cost of a supplied email address. “The Book of James” is musically stunning and lyrically powerful, ending with the cathartic line “...and you're forgiven.”
Rise Ye Sunken Ships, a reflective title if there ever was one, has released digitally on iTunes and is now available. However, the physical CD is planned for release on August 23 on Atlantic Records/Turnout Records. Rise Ye Sunken Ships should be noticed for what it is, a hauntingly beautiful set of songs that chases the evil away, settling into a peaceful acceptance. Worth your attention.