In the last couple of years, one of the hardcore bands I had been most looking forward to hearing new music from was undoubtedly, Praise. That thirst was first quenched via a few days ago when I was sent an advance copy of All In a Dream, Praise's forthcoming debut album for Revelation Records.
It's first single is the record's title track, sugary shot of melodic hardcore that reveals one honeyed hook after the next. The other eight cuts on the LP are just as gorgeous, bursting at the seams with memorable choruses and guitar parts that pack punch but never go too aggressive. I know All In a Dream will land on many Best of 2022 lists come that season.
"Because of schedules, we almost never practice," Praise guitarist Anthony Dye emailed No Echo just yesterday. "So new Praise songs have to be pretty well developed by the time we all play them in a room together. That has led to a pretty self-selecting mode of songwriting for the band."
For the All In a Dream sessions, Praise worked with producer and engineer Kevin Bernsten at Developing Nations in Baltimore, Maryland and Brian McTernan (Be Well, Battery) stepped in as a second producer as well, focusing on song structure and vocal performances.
I told Anthony that after listening to the new record, I felt that there was a certain wistfulness to the material, especially how the guitar tones and vocals work with each other. He responded: "When I’m writing guitar parts, some of things I’m thinking about are: Is this complete enough to share with everyone? Does it excite me somehow as a guitar player? Does it have a 'mood' that fits with our lyrical themes?
"Does it sounds like the kind of melodic hardcore band that we want Praise to be? Are there any opportunities to introduce musical elements that aren’t as common in hardcore (a minor chord here, a key change there)? If I can answer all of those questions, we usually have something worth getting together and hammering out. I think the other members have a similar filter to run things through before bringing ideas to the band."
The guitarist continued: "As for the 'wistfulness,' I'm still chasing the powerful melancholy that Rites of Spring gave me when I first heard them at 16. When we write something good for Praise, I get a little piece of that feeling. Shoutout to Brian McTernan for teaching me the art of the 'couch riff,' which helped me write at least two good guitar parts in the last 6 years."
I asked Anthony about the long gap between their last record, 2006's Leave It All Behind, and All In a Dream. With drummer Daniel Fang is also in both Turnstile and Angel Du$t—two separate groups who are seemingly either on tour or recording new records, Praise had to be put on the backburner, and Anthony seems ready to fire things back up.
"It has definitely felt long. Other band/career schedules have always been a big hurdle for Praise, but this time around it was especially tough to find time. Daniel’s band’s have seen a lot of (well deserved) success in the interim, I’ve been juggling school and work, and everyone has gone through major changes in their personal lives. To top it off, we were 80% done with the record in March 2020, and we all know what happened next. Studios being closed and pressing plant delays set us back even further.
"Our constraints absolutely make us more appreciative of the time we spend playing together. Getting all 5 of us in a room together is an accomplishment in itself, and I feel real joy whenever it happens. I like to think that the other guys feel the same way. We definitely know that we have to make it count every time."
All In A Dream is out May 6th via Revelation Records.
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