Emerging indie-rock band’s new album earns praise


The Backseat Lovers, a Utah-based band, took off after winning the 2018 Battle of the Bands in Provo, Utah. Since then, the band has accumulated 4.3 million monthly Spotify listeners, gone on multiple tours (including one U.K. tour) and released one extended play (EP) record, three singles and two albums.
The band’s energy-filled indie-rock sound has not only been popular amongst listeners but has also been noticed by other artists. Their new album Waiting to Spill came out Oct. 28. David Greenbaum produced it, and he’s a six-time Grammy songwriter and producer who has worked with artists such as Beck, Gorillaz, Beastie Boys and Paul McCartney.
Waiting to Spill offers a much more sophisticated and unique sound compared to the band’s past work. However, the level of maturity in writing and tone, while beautiful, may not be favored more than past works for the average listener.
The album opens with the chilling song, “Silhouette.” At first, its 5:20 length may seem intimidating, but the pacing of the song makes it an easy listen. Listeners can hear a bit of genre shift in this album as it becomes softer and folk-esque. Specifically, in this song, the genre shift feels slightly more prominent than in the band’s past work.
Opening the album with “Silhouette” gives listeners a sense of the overall slow, melancholy feel of the album. The last minute of the song sounds more like noises rather than music. While this makes it uncomfortable to listen to, it adds to the artistic integrity of the song and supports the band’s growing artistic maturity present in this album.
“Close Your Eyes,” along with “Growing/Dying,” is a song that seems more true to the band’s original sound. Another 5-minute song on the album, while complex and detailed, might not impact listeners the same way other songs on this album do. However, this track seems so far to be a fan favorite for the album. The way that the energy builds through the song feels very natural, an element that the band has perfected in the past.
“Morning in the Aves” continues with the theme of opening the song with an acoustic, piano-and-guitar approach. Taking a deeper dive into the song and the lyrics, listeners get reminded of the simple yet genius writing that the band uses in their songs. This aspect is highlighted by the easy-going vocals and sound throughout the song. Once again, the pacing on this song emphasizes how the Backseat Lovers have mastered building energy within their music. However, even though it is a greatly crafted song, it might feel a little boring compared to other songs on the album.
“Growing/Dying” was released as a single in August. This song is very true to the Backseat Lover sound. Because of this, it is a nice tie-back because of the exploration of new genres seen throughout the album. The catchy intro riff, Joshua Harmon’s soft, yet powerful, vocals and stellar guitar playing make this a single-worthy song. Admittedly, the beginning of the song feels the most powerful compared to other sections of the song. Disregarding this, the song still has a great feeling attached to it. Listening in, people can really catch the depth and creativity both musically and lyrically.
“Words I Used” opens with piano, which can sometimes feel cheesy or sappy. Leading up to the chorus, the song is very soft, even sometimes overpowered by the piano. But once again, the energy builds up and balance is restored. Overall, “Words I Used” is a unique song, even for a group like the Backseat Lovers. Because of this, listeners can give kudos to the band for boldly branching out. This song seems like one that would be very powerful live, but through the medium of a pair of earbuds, it has trouble giving the same effect. Although not a favorite, this is a good and well-made song.
“Snowbank Blues” is a great example of a powerful, yet simple song. There are many elements, guitar rhythms, vocal harmonies and some other fun little riffs sprinkled throughout that make it a favorite of the album. “Snowbank Blues” leads with a sort of Johnny Cash-style guitar strum and evolves into a loud, powerful chorus. The harmonies added to the vocals in the chorus contribute to the emotional effect of the song, making it feel almost nostalgic and more beautiful. The whistling added within the song is a nice surprise that once again reminds listeners that a song doesn’t need to be gargantuan in order to invoke emotion.
“Follow the Sound” again unfolds with piano, but this time it’s significantly better because of the paired drums. This song surprises listeners in the way it unfolds itself. Along with the piano and drums, the bass adds a special sound to the whole of the song. The recurring theme of piano here can lead to the question: Why piano? Is it because it evokes a more melancholy sound? Is it a medium for branching out to more genre-mixing? Still, this is the album’s best mainly-piano song.
“Slowing Down” gives notes of a song made by Briston Mahoney or another alternative/indie rock artist. The guitar used gives the song a deep tone, sounding almost sinister or mad. Like all other songs on the album, it showcases beautiful writing and composition, showing that a song doesn’t need to be loud to feel powerful.
“Know your Name” is a song that is easy to imagine being played live. The emphasis on bass paired with the volume of the guitar and bass drum gives it the feeling of a live recording. The spotlight on the guitar keeps the song true to its Backseat Lover roots, but paired with vocal harmonies, it offers a fresh sound never heard from this band. Overall, this song offers killer guitar parts and a tasteful mix between volumes. “Know your Name” is a good listen.
“Viciously Lonely” is unexpected. It leaves the album with a bang — not in a loud way, but in an emotional way. The chorus offers catchy, heartfelt lyrics that add to its emotional appeal. This song is a great wrap for the album because of the sentimental, vulnerable feeling it leaves with the listener. Surprisingly, this could a favorite on the album.
Overall, Waiting to Spill is a great album full of different sounds that play smoothly with the characters of the artists who made them. The Backseat Lovers have branched out on this album, creating a different sound than expected, and that should be applauded. For this reason, Waiting to Spill receives a 4/5.