San Francisco quartet I The Mighty released their fourth full length record on October 19th of this year. Featuring their usual prog rock elements fused with other genres, Where The Mind Wants To Go / Where You Let It Go is full of energetic cadences and rhythmic intricacies the group is known for. Led by the title tracks and”Chaos In Motion,” the record weaving between lyrics concepts of thought and the brain, I The Mighty’s newest release is their most aware and extremely detailed release yet.
Not only does the quartet create soaring, unique albums, the live performance is equally astounding. Touring in support of their latest release, I The Mighty led a captivated crowd at the Marquis Theater in Denver, Colorado. From the production to the quality of the sound, everything clicked and made the album that much more of an experience because I The Mighty’s atmosphere and presence go beyond the music and straight to interacting with the fans.
New Noise Magazine is pleased to bring forth the exclusive and in depth track by track of I The Mighty’s latest record with vocalist and guitarist Brent Walsh. Let your mind wander and listen to the record below, with Walsh opening up on every track and the tight lyrics.
I’ve always been inspired by the blurry line between conscious and subconscious thought. So much of the time, we forget how many of our decisions are made without our own realization. What we reach for in our fridge, what app we mindlessly hit while staring at our phone… All of these small (yet sometimes monumental) decisions, we make on a daily basis without ever acknowledging the line of events that likely led to their existence. This album is inspired by that blurred line; the realization of where and when those two minds meet. This is an in depth look at how each song interacts with that idea and a key lyric or moment of imagery from each song that exemplifies it.
Note: Six of the eleven tracks on this record are part of one intersecting story. One that follows the course of a relationship from the moment of conception, to falling in love, to finding a chink in the armor, to no longer fighting for it to survive, to the break up, and subsequently not handling the break up well. For the sake of a name, we’ll refer to this as “Love Story.”
Track One: Degenerates
Back at home in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know a pretty incredible group of people whom I classify as “my best friends.” We’re essentially new age hippies; professional individuals with high aspirations, that also know how to have a good time. During those good times, we tend to lovingly refer to our outfit as “The Degenerates.” This song drew inspiration from a trip we took to a cabin to ring in the 2017 new year. The song encompasses the overwhelming feeling of gratitude I had for my life and the people in it that weekend, and the emptiness I felt when I was in solitude upon my return. It led to the realization that, when you TRULY feel something, it can create a void in it’s absence. I’ve found that life tends to try to balance itself. Without the lows you don’t truly feel the highs, and the reverse is just as true. All in all, this song is about finding your place.
Key line/imagery: “My head was heavy with thoughts when I got home. I started to focus on my fears, I thought of dying alone. But how I hate to get caught in pointless thought, self pity gets me nowhere… I guess we’ve all got things we’re still working out.”
Track Two: Chaos in Motion
Sometimes that line between subconscious and conscious thought likes to show itself by means of a daydream. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had the audacity to silently tell his boss to “Go fuck himself” in his head, during a stressful day at work. ‘Chaos in Motion’ is a trip down the anarchy rabbit whole. A story of my lover and I: Emptying our bank accounts, taking only our sweaters and our keys, and burning everything in our wake to the ground. A narrative soaked in the romantic notion that, if we have each other, we need nothing else.
Key line/imagery: “I say we start again, far from this cold apartment. Find what it is to be alive. Anarchy is a friend I’ve grown to become close with. We’ll set fire to all we leave behind.
Track Three: Pet Names
(Love Story 6/6) We begin the love story at its end. The last song of our half album concept begins with the narrator following his girlfriend on her first date after their break up, and leads to him listening to the sounds of their hook up through her front door. After a break up, we often go through a period of mourning the death of what we expected to be our future. Some sure-footed glimpse into what every Hallmark card has programmed us to believe we should expect. However, much of the time that window into our future life splinters or altogether shatters, causing us to grasp at whatever straws give us self worth. It’s easy to embarrass yourself when you let your subconscious mind takes the wheel. This song is a portrayal of the mistakes that can be made when your emotions outweigh your ability to reason.
Key line/imagery: “Do you think fate is just a lie we tell ourselves to help us fall asleep at night? Do you think we could spend the night indulging ourselves, just to recall what it was like?
Track Four: Where the Mind Wants to Go
(Love Story 4/6) The concept of this song began with a “sick little day dream” I had while driving along the California coast. It’s common place for my mind to wander about how fragile life is. The recognition that, if you’re driving along the edge of a cliff, it would take all but a slight move of your arm to send you cascading into oblivion. Something about that thin red line between normalcy and mortality has always seemed almost romantic to me. This song toys with the analogy of drifting off in thought and drifting off the road. As far as the “Love Story” concept is concerned, this song represents when that fairy tale concept of the relationship starts to splinter. When the suspicion first enters your head that, the issue with your relationship may be less a chink in the armor and more a fatal wound.
Key line/imagery: “Still we try to pick up the pieces. You shouldn’t have to change yourself to make us work. Well, I just want you to be happy regardless. I will love you even if we’re just energy.” (This last line ties in directly with the song “Where you let it go.”)
Track Five: Symphony of Skin
(Love Story 1/6) Without delving too far into my personal life, “Symphony of Skin” is a nod to the process of falling in love. The verses sort through the real moments of my life that led me to fall for someone who, at the time, I thought could be “the one.” The choruses portray the feeling of ecstasy that accompanies a strong physical connection, with an even stronger mental one. This song is steeped in hope and optimism; something that I think shows it’s face more often on this record than it’s predecessors.
Key line/imagery: “Tempo is slow, waves come and go, just like the rising tide as I swim through your sea of skin. Got every inch of you trembling.”
Track Six: Sleepwalker
(Love Story 5/6) In my personal experience, break ups never seem to happen in one foul swoop. There are usually clues or conversations leading up to the moment one person finally pulls the trigger. “Sleepwalker” begins at the moment that final domino falls. When your subconscious thought searches for a means of escapism so sincere, you begin to picture the inanimate objects of your room coming alive. It leads through the common journey of dealing with the heartbreak and into the epiphany that it was never meant to be from the start. The feeling that you were sleepwalking your way through the year and finally waking up. This song is definitely one of the more personal for me on the record, and it essentially encompasses the thesis of the entire album: That moment the subconscious and conscious mind collide.
Key line/imagery: “We were waiting for the train the day you turned to me and said, that you were tired of the chase and I was always half awake. I watched you as you walked away and never even felt the rain… But I am finally waking up. You and I were not enough.”
Track Seven: Escapism
We all have our means of escapism. For many, that can mean the overindulgence of either food, alcohol, or other drugs. The problem is, when that buzz is gone, often times the shadow you were hiding from was just waiting for daylight to show up again. Sometimes it’s without even thinking that we make these decisions. This song is about being conscious of your unhealthy decisions and making them anyway.
Key line/imagery: “I think I’ll eat this whole pizza to myself. I think I’ll blame all of my problems on somebody else. I think I’m ready to destroy my sense of self. You can join me but don’t freak out.”
Track Eight: 111 Winchester
Much of our older discography consists of songs that are simply stories. Often inspired by either politics or unexplainable phenomenon. A vast majority of this record is a departure from that; focusing more so on real experiences I’ve been through than fictional story-telling. However, this song is almost a call back to that older style. It follows a group of teenagers who steal liquor from their parents cabinets and head to an abandoned house they had heard of. They break in, the party ensues, but immediately strange things begin to happen. One by one, the group of six drop off as they explore the house until all that’s left is our narrator, who hears his girlfriend calling from the master bedroom but can’t find his voice to call back. A voice inside his head calls him to the study, where he finds a hollowed out book containing matches and a locket with a picture of a young couple. Eventually, the shadow that had been following him all night closes in and he feels the presence of someone else. He now knows the couple in the locket, and the presence of a can of gasoline hidden behind the bookshelf. The blurred line between conscious and subconscious thought in this instance, is the possession of his mind by this entity.
Key line/imagery: “I don’t feel like myself. Right now there is someone else telling behind the shelf, there is gasoline (telling me to pour it out, over everything). And I don’t feel like myself. I don’t feel like myself. I don’t feel a thing.”
Track Nine: The Sound of Breathing
(Love Story 5/6) When you have the piece of mind to work at a relationship, even in the dark times, it has hope. However, when you realize that months have gone by and both parties are content with the charade, that light is given permission to burn out completely. When the arguing stops and all you’re left with is lingering silence and the sound of breathing. For me, it was often in these moments that my mind would run away with itself. Skewing the lines of subconscious hope and rational doubt. Questioning the realities of the relationship I was in, as my mind tried to convince my gut what it already knew. That this was already over.
Key line/imagery: “That train of thought leads me back to before… When love was not absurd. So convinced it’s what we all deserve, ’till that silent room steals every word. Now the sound of breath is all you’ve heard.”
Track Ten: Silver Tongues (Featuring: Tilian)
This was the first time I had ever co-written the lyrics for a full song with someone else. Lyrics have always been such a personal endeavor for me, I will admit I was a little nervous to let someone in on the process from scratch. However, writing with Tilian (Dance Gavin Dance) ended up being such an easy and organic experience. The concept slowly progressed into the idea that you should never be led astray by silver tongues; whether that be from a stranger, a peer, or your own mind. It’s easy to be dragged down by the harsh criticisms of others, or worse, your own. “Silver Tongues” is about the awareness that you can not control what is said or done to you, but you can control your reaction to it. I’ve always been a loud constituent that a positive mindset breeds positive results. However, it takes a conscious daily repetition of this ideology to pull yourself out of hardship.
Key line/imagery: “Never again will I spend all the precious time that I have left, on those who oppose anyone doing what they love.”
Track Eleven: Where You Let it Go
(Love Story 2/6) We end this album with undoubtedly the most optimistic song of our bands career. The climactic moment of any relationship in which all doubt is lost and you’re convinced that your life (and your energy even after your death) will be forever intertwined with another’s. It would be a lie for me to say that this song’s concept was inspired by having sincerely experienced this. As close as I’ve come, there has always been a background gnawing of subconscious doubt that chips away at the fantasy. However, I happily indulged myself with the idea, embracing the selfish hope to one day share it. Many times I second guessed the simplicity of the lyrics. It felt almost out of my comfort zone to be so blunt… But I like to think that true love would have be so blunt. That it would defy any and all doubt; leading someone to be as direct as to say:
Key line/imagery: “I will love you forever. I will love you forever more.”
Photo by Jason Cox
11.17 Phoenix, AZ – The Rebel Lounge
11.18 Los Angeles, CA – Moroccan Lounge – SOLD OUT!
11.19 Los Angeles, CA – Moroccan Lounge