Track Review

Track Review: Lifejackets & Flare Guns // The Archivist

What began as an acoustic outlet for singer-songwriter Dwayne Banks soon become a US-based alternative rock meets emo band. After reuniting with previous bandmates and friends, Daryl Hannah of Pyramids and Joe Freebird of Nobody Yet, The Archivist was born…sort of. It was following several acoustic performances that Daryl (drums) and Joe (guitar) started working with Dwayne (vocals and bass). Rhythm guitarist Erik Walker soon joined and the ultimate line-up for The Archivist was formed.

While the members had not performed together for about a decade, music remained in their veins; even adding a pandemic to their time apart did not deter them. Moreover, they are building a strong following with features in The Other Side Reviews, YMX, iHeart Radio and several other playlists/podcasts. Following their single ‘Fairytale Endings’, The Archivist releases ‘Lifejackets & Flare Guns’.

Oddly enough, while ‘Lifejackets & Flare Guns’ is the second full-band release, it was the first track penned. Created when Dwayne “stumbled upon a catchy chorus…at a drug and alcohol treatment centre”, this single is a sonic description of early sobriety and relapse. Touching on issues of isolation, abandonment, anxiety and inner turmoil, ‘Lifejackets & Flare Guns’ is quite a difficult narrative with which to deal. However, the directness and honesty in the lyricism point to a profound understanding of desperation and struggling.

While the track was recorded with a specific issue (experiencing early sobriety), it can be viewed in a broader context. It examines human fragility in a delicate and hard-hitting way. The tender lyricism adds sentimentality to the song, but there is a definite rawness in the powerful melody. The combination of pounding drums, dynamic guitars and bold vocals enhance the overwhelming blast of emotions “in your head”. An apt representation of the despair, pain and torment being felt.

In addition to their single, The Archivist released a music video for ‘Lifejackets & Flare Guns’. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on the video as it uses strobe lighting effects and can cause seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.


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