Rest and relaxation? Rock ‘n’ roll? Rack and ruin? How about The Rest and Rock?
The Rest are a Hamilton-based 7 piece whom I discovered via Twitter. How wonderful is this new digital world for musical exploration? Their 3rd record, SEESAW, almost didn’t exist. A month from release, the hard drive holding every scrap of sound for the record. Further investigation found the backup was corrupt. This is the point where most people would just throw in the towel. Not The Rest, however. 5 months of stress and repeated attempts and techniques failed to retrieve the files until the material was delivered to a company with a unique specialization. They recover the information stored in airliners’ so-called Black Boxes. Satisfaction at last. How sweet it is. In this case, bittersweet may be the more appropriate term. The band explains it best.
SEESAW began under truly tragic circumstances, with the loss of the band’s long-time friend/mentor/producer Dan Achen. Under his patient (and occasionally impatient) tutelage, the band was able to accomplish goals that had originally seemed to be mere pipe dreams. His passing was completely unexpected, and left the group contemplating how they would be able to move forward without him. However, the more they worked on SEESAW, the more they realized that Dan’s influence would still be felt on every note. This was a process that began with him years earlier, and the final product would owe as much to him as any of their own impressions.
Yet after losing their friend and the whole record, fate wasn’t done with them. A member of the band vanished without a trace. Fortunately enough it took just a week (but what a traumatizing week it must have been) for him to reappear in hospital.
Starting with one truly profound loss and suffering two more in the process, you could rightly expect something dark and dismal to come from out at the other end. SEESAW didn’t get that memo. While it has moments of sadness and melancholy (Always On My Mind and The Lodger), there are plenty of exuberantly cheerful moments as well (Laughing Yearning and Hey! For Horses). This is, after all, a seesaw. Your emotional trajectory will rise and fall like you’re once again riding that classic playground toy.
It may be cliche to say that the record also mimics life. Certainly, it reflects The Rest’s life of the past 2 years. Whereas they may have suffered tragic losses, they have also experienced joyous reunions. They lost and found their music and their band mate. And while Mr. Achen may have passed, he’s not altogether gone. He’ll live on in the influence he’s had on this and The Rest’s previous 2 records (as well as many others, I’m sure.)
Watch the video for Hey! For Horses (WARNING: NSFW! Puppet sex!) and get the track free for a limited time from Zunior’s Compilation 6.21 (also includes music from Cadence Weapon, Wax Mannequin and more). If you’re too late, the track is also available for download from the band’s bandcamp (see below).
SEESAW is available on the band’s bandcamp on vinyl, CD and/or digital download. There are apparently still some of the 300 copies of the limited edition clear-vinyl pressing that includes a handwritten note from a member of the band. I hope you’ll join me in checking out The Rest. After all, you can’t ride a seesaw alone.