Love Letter To A Record: Pridelands On HRVRD’s ‘The Inevitable And I’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Joshua Cory, Pridelands – HRVRD, The Inevitable And I, (2009)

If I were to pick a record that was to correctly embody a “coming of age” or a phase of some sort that could be considered to be life-changing, I would struggle to look past the masterpiece that is The Inevitable & I, the debut record by the experimental four-piece HRVRD from Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. The first time I heard this record was in 2015, six years after its release – around the time that my band Pridelands were recording their first EP, Natives. The sheer emotion and instrumental prowess that this band demonstrated turned my understanding of music on its head and I have not been the same since – both as a listener and as a composer. I come from a primarily jazz-influenced background, participating in a couple of different jazz vocal ensembles and bands in my earlier years as a musician, but the experimental and intensely dynamic feel of this Harvard record shaped my tastes for years to come. This is my love letter to The Inevitable & I, and I hope that I can do it justice in this short essay.

The album rears its head with the show-stopping ‘On With Disease’, making its presence undeniable with its four-to-the-floor drum intro, quickly followed by their signature quirky, off-beat guitar work that one may liken to that of Circa Survive. Jesse Classen’s voice rapidly asserts itself as the driving force of this record. The man is a powerhouse, and from the get-go, he is undeniable in his presence. His melody and lyricism are both impactful and charming, like chilli and honey running down your throat. The chorus to this song blows your mind from the moment it hits you and draws you in for the remainder of the track, only to reel you back into the same sense of incredible awe when the drums hit half-time and the same penetrating force that is this chorus comes back in a new way. This song defines opening tracks for me and I have never been so taken aback by an opener – it is unlikely that anything will hit me this hard again.

The follow-up track is ‘French Girls’, an encapsulating and incredible display of the talent on array here. It opens with a sleazy, jazzy foray – Classen this time taking up a trumpet to parade us into the sexiness that is this track. The lyrics, the melody, the bass paired with the guitar, the walk of the drums – it’s all here. This song encapsulates this album perfectly, as many ‘second tracks’ tend to do, but this one has stuck with me for seven years and I don’t see it becoming any less impactful in the future. Deliverance takes a faster, funkier and heavier approach, quickly evolving from something you might find in an early Red Hot Chili Peppers record into a classic post-hardcore blast into infinity. The aggressive nature of the guitars is reinforced by the rest of the ensemble, showcasing the band’s incredible skill at harnessing the power of dynamics almost as effectively as the previous track. It serves as a powerful and aggressive follow up.

‘Memory Police’ is a slow and bluesy, yet simultaneously snarky track – aimed at deconstructing the angsty egos of one’s peers. The track quite simply bleeds with attitude. Meanwhile, ‘An End Weight’ presents itself as a climactic moment of surrender that feels as though it belongs at the end of a record, but somehow falls right into place at the centre. ‘Ghost’ takes a leaf from the book of Deliverance – it’s fast, heavy and groovy to a fault. I can’t help but sing along to it now. ‘Tenebroso’ is a somewhat negligible instrumental bridge track leading into one of my personal favourite tracks – ‘Hand To Hesitate’. To this day I don’t believe that there is a single song that I can put above this one. This is my number one track on my number one album. There is nothing I would change about it.

As the record progresses, it fails to waiver in quality and excellence. Each track is jam-packed with memorable choruses, infectious leads and riffs and groovy drum and bass lines that remain undeniable so many years later. I would not be who I am without this record and I hope that whoever happens to read this love letter will take the time to bless themselves with the miracle that is this album.

Thank you for shaping me, thank you for being there in my darkest moments. Thank you for being unapologetically yourself. You will forever be my favourite record, and I will never forget the angelic memories we have shared. I will take them to my grave.

Melbourne-based, five-piece metal band Pridelands’ debut studio album, ‘Light Bends’, is out today.

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