Next week, We Never Learned To Live will be releasing their debut full-length through Holy Roar Records, but you can listen to the entire thing in full on Upset right now.
Having first made their mark with their self-titled debut EP back in September 2013, the Brighton-based five-piece returned to The Ranch in Southampton late last year to begin work on their first record. Having chosen again to work with Lewis Johns – who was also in the production seat for their contribution to their 2014 split with Human Future – their new eight-track offering is a powerful yet cathartic effort which harnesses the band’s polarising energies perfectly.
“We are overwhelmingly happy to introduce our debut LP ‘Silently, I Threw Them Skyward’,” the band’s Sean Mahon says, in introduction of the record. “Writing this album was a really natural and organic process for us, with each of us setting aside our inhibitions and losing ourselves in improvisation and self-expression. It really means a lot to us that people like you are interested enough in what we do to have come here to listen to it first. Put some headphones on, hope for thunderstorms, and turn it up loud. Thank you for your support.”
Listen to ‘Silently, I Threw Them Skyward’ in its entirety below, pre-order here, and check out a full track-by-track guide to the record, as written by the band’s Sean Mahon and David Kane, beneath the player.
‘Shadows In Hibernation’
Sean: ‘Citing my lips’ was me trying to describe the process of listening back to the jam recordings and working out what I was singing in the moment (through a savagely distorted phone recording). I’d just moved to London [and was] feeling kind of uncertain about who I was or what the fuck I was doing or was meant to be doing anymore.
David: This one is a jam that dates back almost two years, back to when we were writing ‘Marionettes’ and beginning to flesh out what the next release could be. It was a riff that Brett [Houslop, guitars] was playing around with that just suddenly escalated to a full jam session with loads of layers being added and a long wall of sound outro. From there it didn’t really change too much from the original jam, other than maybe section lengths. When Sean added some of the vocal hooks over the top we realised we’d accidentally written something fucking catchy that we really enjoyed.
‘Twitching With Every Apology’
Sean: The ‘softly’ section is the oldest set of lyrics on the album and probably most akin to our self-titled EP in that way. [The song is] recalling the feelings of dealing with addiction in your family even after best executing plans to remove yourself from them. I used to receive like 30+ voicemails a day and they were really, really bleak.
David: Musically, this is another one that barely changed from the first improvised jam, which from memory was dubbed ‘It’s Always Jammy in Philadelphia’ for the best part of a year. It’s a song that we have been playing live for around 18 months now, as it was one of the first to be finished. We still really like the energy of it live and it’s one of my personal favourites in the set.
Sean: I think I was beginning to really notice how much humanity and human interaction was changing in the advent of social media and it kind of scared the shit out of me. I’d really made a bit of a turning point in my views on the ‘Social Media’ age and I think this was kind of a dark vision of where I fear things are headed.
David: This is a weird one for me, as it was a rehearsal that I missed as I was away at the time, and the guys recorded this haunting jam and sent it over to me, so it’s the only track on the album that we didn’t all write at once. It was a slightly different process of me having to write some parts over an existing jam, but I think it sounds pretty natural, and the ebbs and flows of the original recordings are there still. The end section is one of the heaviest sections we have, and we absolutely love playing it.
‘Crystalline, So Serene’
Sean: This started off as a kind of metaphorical description of the bittersweet feeling I get when writing lyrics, like ignoring material possessions or people that aren’t worth your time and just focusing on what feels good for you.
David: This is an older jam too, and one that we put on the back burner a bit when we were going through the writing process. It was initially aggressive vocals all the way through, but we dug it back out a few months before going to record, and Sean had added in some awesome cleans and some half singing half shouting sections that were just exactly what the track needed. We all fell back in love with it, so much so that it’s one of our singles. Personally I feel this track represents some of the most mature writing on the album and it’s a track we’re all really proud of.
‘Fragmented Footnotes on Self-Diagnosis’
Sean: I think the song title for this one probably does a better job describing it than I would. Also I’m literally writing a shitty footnote about myself right now.
David: I really love the pace of this one – it’s a track that we really love to fuck about with live too by changing a few things around. Not that we don’t like it how it is on the record, but it’s just a really fun track to improvise a bit more with this one due to the pace and the dynamics.
‘You Will Sleep Now, Yourko’
Sean: Bleak future for humanity. I think I was imagining like ‘What if we are the first to get to this point and then we just fuck it up royally (like we are?)’. The song title is from a sci-fi short story about a Russian astronaut and a twisted view on humanity’s space exploration.
David: I’ve had several people describe this track as ‘cinematic’ which is pretty cool, and 28 Days Later keeps coming up too. I guess it’s just raw and nervy and it has a really dark narrative which we fucking love. If there was a zombie apocalypse then I’d want this as the soundtrack too. We had loads of fun in the studio with this one, especially getting let loose on guitar and vocal effects for the end section where the track falls apart at the end. Bleak.
Sean: The Seán Mahon love story. Mark thought I was writing about Star Trek, I wasn’t…
David: I always hoped this was a Leonard Nimoy thing too. Ah well.
Sean: [This one’s about] sleep paralysis and other things that make you feel like you’re having a lucid nightmare or having a heart attack for no real reason whatsoever.
David: This track just came out of nowhere. Midway through a long rehearsal we came back up to our room at Brighton Electric, picked up our instruments and this unholy monster fell out pretty much exactly as it is. This is also a four guitar onslaught, as Mark switches over to a Fender 6, and Sean takes over bass duties, so the last section is just this hugely heavy wall of sound. We had loads of fun recording this, and can’t wait for it to be in our set with all four guitars. I’m sure I’ve said this about other tracks already, but definitely another favourite for me.
‘Silently, I Threw Them Skyward’ gets released on 22nd June through Holy Roar Records. Pre-order the album here. Seriously. Do it. It’s great.