If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.
At some point in the last decade, Michigan became the number one source for post-hardcore innovators that understand how to weave a compelling lyrical narrative while balancing heavy and melodic sounds. The group most people associate with this movement is probably We Came As Romans, who have spent the past decade building a global following through songs of hope that urge listeners to chase after the things they want in life. They’re a great band and I would never attempt to take any acclaim away from them, but later this week the world will be properly introduced to another Mitten state based group who are poised to conquer the heavier side of alternative music in no time at all.
I Prevail is a band that has been thriving just below the mainstream radar for the better part of five years. You may have seen the group’s cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” that went viral in 2015, or perhaps you’ve seen one of the streams they’ve posted for their own material. Whatever the case, you have not truly heard everything the band is capable of until you experience their debut full-length record, Lifelines. The record arrives in stores this Friday, and I’m writing to you now in hopes of making you aware that this is one fall release you cannot let pass you by.
So, what is it about I Prevail that makes them something more notable than their genre peers? This is a question I myself had when Lifelines was first sent my way over the summer. I had encountered the band’s previous singles through my work in music writing, and I believe I even tweeted about their Taylor Swift cover when it first began to make the rounds online. I had always enjoyed what I heard from I Prevail, but given the fact they were best known for a cover I was unsure whether or not a full-length record would be my cup of tea. Thankfully, I was wrong.
It only takes about a minute or two of “Scars,” the opening song on Lifelines, to understand what I Prevail are trying to do with their music. The message of hope that has become commonplace in heavier alternative music is as present as it ever is, but there is something more to the words and themes of Lifelines that pulls you a bit further in than your standard genre fare. What that hard to pinpoint element is, at least based on my research, is a mixture of poetic honesty and painful realism. The world is not black and white, though many try to tell us it is, and I Prevail set themselves apart by exploring the many shades of life that one can experience. As you work your way through Lifelines you begin to grasp the journey the band has taken to reach this point, as well as what their struggles as a group can tell us about any individual’s pursuit of their dreams. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and you’ll never know what you are capable of achieving until you fully commit yourself to becoming something more than what you are now. It’s hard, but the reward is worth the effort.
Of course, detailing the struggles you overcame to make your debut album is not exactly a new concept. People have been making records about that exact thing for over a century now, and any music historian will tell you that people wrote about their struggles long before the album was invented. Many of the best song ever written in any genre detail how someone or some group overcame something difficult in order to become a better version of themselves. Whether their mission was to become a star, please a leader, praise a deity, or simply make the world a bit better for everyone else, people have been writing about struggles for as long as we could form melodies. I Prevail do not reinvent this idea as much as they master it. They have found a way to channel their experiences into relatable songs that connect with thousands, if not millions who have never spent a single day bouncing around in the back of a 15-passenger van hoping the underground venue they’re playing three-hundred miles from home makes good on their promise to pay them for their gig. They’ve taken the niche and made it feel mainstream, and that is a feat any artist should desire to pull off in their career.
Look: I get it. Post-hardcore is a genre usually thought to target angsty youth and young adults who have yet to outgrew said angst, but there is something to the music of I Prevail that I believe can benefit anyone from any walk of life who desires to have a greater global perspective. In a year full of many good, but ultimately forgettable releases Lifelines stands out as a one-of-a-kind album that is just as heavy as it is catchy. The material on Lifelines can change lives, and even if it doesn’t change yours it will no doubt inspire you to create something of your own that is capable of impacting lives the way the music of I Prevail does now. Don’t miss out.
James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Coordinator at Haulix. He is also the Film Editor for Substream Magazine and the host of the Inside Music Podcast. If you enjoyed the words above James would like you to follow him on Twitter.