The LongRoad Travelled: A Journey into ‘Faith in Greater Things’
Something happens to me in autumn. The nights are longer, the trees become increasingly bare, and – for some reason – life feels more like a film. Every film with a teenage (ahem, 27 year old) protagonist needs a soundtrack with enough nostalgia to make you believe that summer days are long gone and, with them, the end of childhood. In the lyrics of Pearl Jam, ‘We all walk the long road,’ and these gents have managed to capitalise on the cyclorama of our times (it’s been a literal long road for the band to get to this second album, but some things are worth the blisters).
The latest album from LongRoad, ‘Faith in Greater Things’, makes us wistful for those late 90s/early 00s teen romcoms where the aforementioned protagonist finds herself in a romantic bind months before leaving for university; we have one scene in particular where she’s walking through the quiet streets of her hometown, coffee in one hand (reusable cup, thank you very much), camera in the other handed down to her by a loving aunt or uncle with a penchant for still life). Something just compels her to take photos on film (because that’s simply what happens with a manic pixie dream girl, vintage is in-tage, baby) and, as she develops those in the darkroom at school, LongRoad begin to play (coincidentally they come back for a reprise during the credits, performing on top of the school in a very Ten Things I Hate About You way)…
I’ve painted you the picture. Now it’s your turn to put on some headphones, grab an after-school snack and join me as we wriggle into the album.
Listen to Faith In Greater Things by LongRoad on Spotify
We start off with a love letter to the band in ‘New Song’. Think Pearl Jam, think alternative ‘dad rock’ but in a way that my dad and I would listen to this together and bond over it. Bursting through the chrysalis of their hiatus, ‘we made it through somehow, you never cast me to blame,’ they’ve found comfort in one another yet again, ‘I need you to keep me from going insane’. You’ve got an absolute ripper of a guitar solo (which I do wish was longer) that needs mentioning.
‘Breathe’ gives us an Alanis Morrisette / Soundgarden music vibe (the vocals give me more Crowded House than Cornell), asking for time, but the anxiety of time slipping away. ‘Inspire’ is upbeat, folky with some Bob Dylan-esque bluesy harmonica lines weaving through. It’s not difficult to imagine singer Ted Ames conducting the audience as they sing along to the chorus. Favourite line out of context: ‘I’ve had no juice in the morning’; the lyrics are playful, akin to Michael Stipe or Neil Finn’s writing here.
‘Fade Away’ feels as though it should be a sad song, but the vocals are more energetic than the Jeff Buckley guitar line they’ve got going on. On first listen, it’s an ode to their lovers, song metaphors in tow; ‘when I’ve got no song, will you be my melody?’. Second listen, however, I would like to think it’s deeper than a love song. It’s a dedication to one another, the love you have for your band mates. Not allowing their love for the band to ‘fade away’. At least, this is what I like to think. We need more songs about platonic love – aside from the love we have for ourselves – the friendships we have can outweather some of the tougher storms that perhaps a romantic relationship can’t.
‘Crash’ is another light, feel-good rock song with a slamming guitar solo (if you’re a fan of good guitar showmanship, then this is definitely one you’ll have on repeat). There’s a stripped-back chorus, building with their harmonies and climaxing with the guitar – it’s nice to have some light and shade. We move onto another great classic rock song highlighting their harmonies, ‘Free’, which also has some epic guitar distortion giving a Tom Petty feel. Lyrically, I would say that they could be more adventurous with their metaphors and themes, but the songs tick all the boxes for a good time.
‘Live With Me’ explores the transformative nature of love, going from the life of a ‘rolling stone’ with nothing material to offer their partner, but asks them to ‘forget everything, don’t worry about anything / I’m gonna make you sing’. It’s idealistic and uplifting and true to how we want our favourite people to come along for the journey. There’s some contrasting shade when we get into ‘Why’ which is more reflective (hearing so much Pearl Jam from this track) and seems to be about the breakdown of a relationship. Not being on the same page, ‘I can’t breathe, because I can’t believe / am I not what you see?’, the space between the verses is filled with the guitars crooning along.
Don’t fear – the final track gives us a ‘Helping Hand’ to lift back up. It’s a real rock anthem and my personal favourite with the big power chords leading us into a positive resolution; ‘all I know is / it’s a beautiful life’. Why yes it is, as the protagonist and her love interest find each other on the dance floor at their prom in the school gym, locking lips for the first time.
Their 2024 tour dates will be released soon on their website, which feels really magic when you think that their debut was back in 2006. The road to get to their second album might have felt long but the sense I get is that these guys genuinely enjoy playing together, have spent some time away to have families and pursue other passions, and have come back without the desperation – the do-or-die attitude that we can have in our youth. They have a genuine love of music and put their faith in the great Barrett Jones (produced for the Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Nirvana…the list goes on) as their producer who, rightfully so, sprinkled magic on this album. Are you a fan of nostalgic alt-rock? Do you enjoy a rippin’ guitar solo? Then you need this album to accompany you on the long road that is life. If you enjoyed this, check out more reviews from IAMUR here… You might just find your new favourite artist!