Released earlier this year, Rather Be Alone is the debut album from California hardcore outfit Power Alone. Issued by Indecision Records (School Drugs, Ursula), the 11-track LP finds the quintet bringing forth a menacing style of metallic hardcore that often lays into a locked-in groove that will keep your head bopping back and forth. "We definitely have parts that remind me of 108, parts that remind me of Snapcase," Power Alone vocalist Eva Hall tells me when I ask about the group's sonic approach. Prior to her current gig, Eva previously fronted the bands Gather and Rats in the Wall.
"In general, most of us are really influenced by '90s hardcore. Vocally, since I cannot really scream anymore because of vocal cord nodules that I developed in Gather, I had to go out of my comfort zone and try something else, and it kind of reminds me of Amy [Miret] from Nausea a little bit."
I wanted to get the Power Alone 101 story, and Eva was game: "My brother Dustin and I have been in bands together since Jr High! Later on, in our early 20s, we met Allan and started a band called Gather. I also met Joven around that time. After Gather broke up, Dustin and Joven started a band called Lockstep, who I really liked.
"A lot of years passed, some of us lost touch with each other for a while, some of us did other bands, but after I quit my previous band, I realized how much I missed playing music with Dustin and Allan, and we got back in touch and decided to start a new band, with Joven too. That’s how I met Sean; Dustin knew him and suggested he join. I was nervous about being in a band with someone I didn’t know well, but turns out he’s awesome—the nicest person in the band for sure—and he made the band feel complete."
As I mentioned earlier, Eva used to front Rats in the Wall, and I remember her saying that is was not a great situation for her. With that in mind, I asked her if she learned anything from that experience that she took with her into Power Alone. "This was the main reason I wanted to start a band with close friends who I trust and who I know are good people. I didn’t know anyone in Rats before I joined, and it was so dysfunctional, stressful, and we were all on different pages.
"I did my best to make it work for six years, because the music did mean a lot to me, but it eventually stopped being fun and was extremely toxic. I missed being in a band with people who are considerate, reasonable, care about things beyond themselves, and help each other out, so I was very eager to make Power Alone happen."
Going through the songs on Rather Be Alone, everything feels so raw, in terms of the lyrical side of things. So, was Eva ever hesitant at any point in the writing process being so open and direct on the record? "Definitely hesitant! A lot of the lyrics are more personal than lyrics I’ve written before which is scary to put out there.
"I also felt like I already said a lot of what I wanted to say when I was in Gather and Rats in the Wall, so it was a little hard to come up with a whole album of songs right after that.But there are still plenty things that anger and sadden me, that constantly keep me in despair, so that’s mostly what I wrote about."
What’s the plan for Power Alone once we get out of our current situation? "I was very sad that we had to cancel a short run of shows in California that we booked with our friends in Sweat. So I’m hoping we’ll be able to reschedule those and plan them a little better. We would love to play more, but we all live many hours from each other, so it is hard to play often. If we can’t play for a while because of this pandemic, we want to start writing new stuff at least! We had no real plans or expectations when we started, so I’m happy just being able to write, and to have an excuse to hang out with everyone in the band."
As our conversation comes to an end, Eva wanted to close things out with the following, and before you ask, I didn't pay her: "Thank you, No Echo, for being so supportive of current hardcore bands! And thank you to everyone who still sees the importance in being vegan and straight edge!"
Rather Be Alone is available now on vinyl and digital via Indecision Records.
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