Chicago's Kali Masi is so much more than a pop-punk band. Peer beneath the surface of their new album [laughs]––which, by the way, is a hook-laden masterpiece reminiscent of The Gaslight Anthem and Taking Back Sunday––and you'll find an explosive passion for finding out who we are as people and celebrating all that comes with it. The group, led by singer/guitarist/guru Sam Porter, turn their inner reflections outward, breaking free from whatever personal chains held them down in the past.
Take their new song "Trophy Deer," which you can watch the video for above, for example, Porter reflects on the sanctuaries of our youth and what it means to grow out of past versions of ourselves.
"Those coveted things that we really identify with when we are growing up, as you get older and they don't quite fit anymore, I guess it's like you've cast yourself into a role you wrote when you were a different person, and it doesn't feel right," he explains. "There's a loss of identity there, and those things that once were very liberating become very oppressive and limiting if you aren't willing to embrace and invite change, even when it means suffering some hardship in letting go in the name of growth and finding yourself.
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[laughs] is a collection of ambitious songs, musically and lyrically, centering around the universal truth that the power and courage to be who we are is and always has been inside of ourselves — rather than in the arms and minds of those around us. Singer and guitarist Sam Porter shares the earnest narrative of feeling out of place both in your hometown and your own skin, and exploring that alienation as we strive for growth. The wailing guitars and powerful drums complement the urgent calls for clarity and understanding, noting the crushing emptiness of loss contrasted by the bittersweet reminiscence of youth.
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Kali Masi have never been a band to hold anything back, and the four-piece stays true to this promise on the new LP. From start to finish, [laughs] is cutting, crucial and honest, with poetic recollections and curses of the past juxtaposed by contemplative acceptance of self in the present. On the new record, the band explores and dissects elements of strained friendships that often go unspoken, sometimes to the point of abandonment beyond repair. Recording once again with hardcore icon Jay Maas, co-founder of Defeater, Kali Masi crafted another masterful balance of urgency, tension and alluring instrumental harmony. The seconds between tracks will leave you guessing whether to rest or revel, and no matter which you get, you’re always taken by pleasant surprise.
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