Well Wisher Released Video For Surface Love

Egghunt Records latest release by NJ queer pop/punk heroes Well Wisher has a new video for heavy hitter “Suface Love,” featuring a band performance shot entirely on VHS.

“It was 2020. There was so much time to reflect, nothing’s going on and I’m angry,” she laughs at the obvious emotion brought about by the devastating two years. “A lot of social climate stuff, the fact that I quit my day job to pursue music fully,” she adds about becoming a touring bassist for alt-rock vets The Front Bottoms, “and then the pandemic happened. All these events contributed to a more raw and emotional record. It resonated with all of us.”

That Weight, the latest album from New Jersey group Well Wisher, is a cathartic burst of catchy, feverish punk rock that addresses the heaviness of personal trauma without being suffocated by its gravity. After the release of 2018’s This Is Fine, front leader and Asbury Park DIY mainstay Natalie Newbold found herself writing solemn acoustic songs that strayed far from the band’s debut venture into pop-punk finery. “It was a really weird period of time where I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my songwriting,” Newbold says about the beginning stages of the sophomore record. “I was in this darker headspace of writing sad, slow songs.” After convening with her bandmates Lynsey Vandenberg, Matt Viani, and Lucas Dalakian, she realized this new direction wasn’t working. Lots of reflection and rewriting resulted in a renewed sense of the band’s identity and sound.

The twelve tracks on That Weight are a confluence of the group’s uncentered rock influences including The Breeders and Pixies, in addition to Newbold’s somber acoustic favorites such as Elliott Smith and Phoebe Brigders. “We were going for more of an In Utero/Pinkerton kind of thing. It’s a little messy and maybe not always the proper decision in terms of production.” Close friend and producer, Erik Kase Romero’s warehouse studio proved to be the perfect environment for experimentation. Not only did the studio serve as a safe and creative space for the band, the natural reverb of the room was uniquely showcased on nearly every track. Opener “Need You Around” features distracting backing vocals that mimic intrusive thoughts as the song swings between romance and desperation. Elsewhere, punchy pop-punk signatures convey the urgency of these songs—the untethered drums bashing on “Panic,” blistering guitar work on “That Weight,” and the serrated guitar riffs of “Do Better.”

As the record progresses, the jumpy, visceral instrumentation emphasizes the tender introspections that Newbold’s writing weaves into these songs. The result is something both cathartic and therapeutic; art that will make you want to thrash and jump around with tears of acceptance and future growth. In “Miserable,” Well Wisher explores generational trauma and mental health. “I’m miserable again / Feeling sorry for myself,” Newbold laments. “Sweat it out / I am my father’s daughter / Let it out,” she sings towards the end. Over a tense drum roll and splintering guitar plucks, Newbold purges her emotional demons and accepts her truth. 

Part of the endearing radiance of That Weight is its imperfections. “Emily,” the album’s centerpiece, shows a different side of imperfection– an underlying theme throughout the record. It’s a raw acoustic ballad that demonstrates the potency Newbold can evoke with only an out-of-tune guitar. When it comes to addressing familial trauma or past fractured relationships, Well Wisher’s music captures the sentiment that there is no magical bandaid. “All my struggles and everything that I’ve been through led me to the realization that we all carry heaviness, we all carry this weight. What you do with it and how you treat the other people around you are some of the only things that you have true ownership over. I take that really seriously,” Newbold says. “There’s so much to think about and be sad and be upset about, but it’s never an excuse to hurt the others around you. So much of this album is about growth, about elevating myself into a place where I feel I can truly love the people around me because I can honor myself– weight and all.”

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