Have Gun, Will Travel is releasing their 5th album this month and in many ways it marks a new direction for the band.
The album tells the story Ernest Shackleton’s ill fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition as detailed in the book Endurance. Trust me, when I hear the term “concept album” I cringe too. Usually they feel forced or fail miserably at telling the intended story. I am happy to say that Science From An Easy Chair does not suffer from either fate.
The album’s lead single, “True Believers,” was the first song lead singer Matt Burke had written after take a year off from writing and at the time it wasn’t about Shackleton at all. The song was penned as a love song to his band that his wife said reminded her of Shackleton’s struggles in the ice pack a century earlier. Her comment sparked and idea for a 4-5 song concept idea that ultimately turned into the 12 track fully realized LP we have now.
The album is roughly broken into 4 sections all separated by instrumentals that do a good job setting the mood for how their portion of the near 2 year journey feels. The sections are; the jubilation of setting off, getting caught in the pack ice and the ultimate sinking of Endurance, the struggles of living on the pack ice and finally (spoiler alert) rescue.
So. How is this a reboot for the band? Well, gone are the familiar love songs to Florida. Gone are the covers of songs from the first EP that have been a recurring piece on the previous albums. In is outside production from the likes Shawn Kyle and with Shawn came a bigger rock and roll sound that really makes Science From An Easy Chair stand out from the bands previous works. By focusing an entire album on a single subject the band produced an album that they likely could not have ever made otherwise. This album feels tight. Concise. Focused and deliberate. There are no wasted notes, no throw away lyrics much less songs.
I am proud to play this album for people here in Tennessee and tell them I know the guys who made this. I am proud that these guys are from Florida and own it. Boys, don’t call what you’re wearing an outfit and don’t tell people you’re from New Orleans. I am glad that they managed to make a concept album Essential Listening.