Stay Lost out 9/23/14 via Normaltown Records
Stay Lost is the second album from White Violet and the first one recorded outside the band’s home base of Athens, Georgia. The eleven songs were tracked in Kernersville, NC, with Scott Solter, a master engineer known for his work with the likes of Centro-Matic, Spoon, and Superchunk. Over the course of a few weeks, Nate Nelson (guitars/vocals), Vaughan Lamb (bass/vocals), Brad Morgan (Guitar) and Lemuel Hayes (drums), fully immersed themselves in the production of this record. There were no significant others to go home to after the session ended. No buddies to meet up with at the bar. No shitty jobs to worry about in the morning. Only a studio and plenty of time to find the right sounds. And it shows. Stay Lost is a huge step forward for the band.
White Violet’s debut, Hiding, Mingling, was the brainchild of Nelson. The beautiful and mostly spare showing occupied the dark corners of the town in which he grew up. The occasional glimmer of a full-band sound demonstrated a penchant for breezy AM Gold. Promising live shows and a later single, “Autumn Grove,” pushed White Violet further out of the dim confines of Nelson’s bedroom and into the wide-open space they collectively explore throughout Stay Lost. The album soars aloft ethereal guitars, airtight melodies, and eccentric and galvanizing rhythms. Big opener “Weighs” finds White Violet riding Lamb’s Krautrock-inspired groove into new sonic territory. “Fernandina” is perhaps the band’s best song yet, an upbeat love letter replete with chiming guitars and a razor-sharp hook. A prime example of White Violet’s developing pop sensibilities. The title track and “Grow Tall,” as well as the re-working of “Autumn Grove,” with it’s original guitar riff unseated by a grimy bass line, further illustrate a growing ear for earworms. Even lower-key numbers like “Topical” witness a progression; the emotional moments packing a stronger wallop than before
Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer implored the reader to embrace the search. “Not to be onto something is to be in despair,” he wrote. While writing Stay Lost, Nelson constantly asked himself, “Where is my home?” The question drove him to draw from places and situations that he knew very little about, rather than the familiar, youthful experiences in Athens that inspired the bulk of Hiding, Mingling. “Mystery,” for example, was sparked by an obsession with survivalists living on the Alaskan frontier. “Fernandina” tells the romantic story of a 24-hour stay in a beachside motel. “Thankfully” sees Nelson fall in love with every fleeting town he passes through on tour. “I can find another place I’d rather see,” he asserts on that song, the album’s final track. This mindset took White Violet outside of the comfort zone and helped the band find its current stride. But things are only just getting started. This is a band that is onto something.