UNWED SAILOR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM LOOK ALIVE + SHARE DRIVING NEW TRACK “CAMINO REEL”
ALBUM OUT JUNE 12 VIA OLD BEAR RECORDS
As Unwed Sailor enters its third decade of creating lush, evocative instrumental music, the reasons behind the success of Johnathon Ford — a onetime member of Pedro the Lion and Roadside Monument — and his reliable musical project can be distilled into a single word: honesty. “There’s not one note on an Unwed Sailor record that I don’t believe in,” says Ford. “This is an honest representation of what’s going on in my being. We’re not trying to fool or dazzle anybody. We’re just bearing it as honestly as we can.”
Unwed Sailor’s previous album, Heavy Age (2019), emerged from a dark period in Ford’s life. But as its title suggests, the upcoming Look Alive comes from a place of strength and inspiration. Its seven songs are about emerging from hardship, not unscathed, but rather, with newfound conviction in who you are. Look Alive will be released June 12th by Old Bear Records via Light In the Attic distro, and today the album details were revealed alongside a video for “Camino Reel”, the driving first single from the album. Watch the video directed by Charles Elmore and Johnathon Ford on YouTube.
Ford again: “It’s about that moment when you realize that you’re no longer thinking about the darkness but instead, rediscovering yourself and expressing yourself more than you were able to before.”
Such honesty can only come when one surrenders oneself to the work, something Ford is very aware of. The directions taken by Unwed Sailor’s music are frequently unintentional, with Ford, drummer Matt Putman, and guitarist David Swatzell simply allowing their emotions and influences to come out in the music in as organic a fashion as possible.
And speaking of influences, there’s honesty there as well, as Ford pays homage to those who’ve come before him. Look Alive contains some obvious touchstones: fluid basslines that recall New Order, moody synths evoking The Cure and Talk Talk, and raucous shoegaze textures à la Swervedriver. But there are moments that took even Ford by surprise: a hook or riff that evokes Ned’s Atomic Dustbin or Killing Joke, or when a song’s noisy layers suddenly peel back to reveal an airy bridge or fragile keyboard line.
Ford’s goal may be to write pop songs with hooks, but Unwed Sailor’s music goes deeper than that. On the one hand, it challenges expectations, something that Ford’s done continuously throughout his career (as evidenced by the diversity of sounds in Unwed Sailor’s discography). As he puts it, “On the first listen, you might not know what to think about the music, but it draws you in to where you have to think about it. The records that challenge me on the first listen, the ones that I have to invest my time in, are the ones that mean the most. Over time, you develop a relationship with the music, you have to give your time and energy to the music to hear and fully understand what the music wants to give back to you.”
5/30 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington
6/1 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
6/2 – Boston, MA @ Middle East (Upstairs)
6/3 – Philadelphia, PA @ Silk City