Grace Session is a record everybody needs to hear. The eight track album is from the band Rich People, composing extremely ambient music that bleeds with a therapeutic trance, wandering through the struggles of learning to accept love in all forms. There’s a lot of personally relatable content sprinkled through the lyrics, like “Back Step (All the Real Girls)” — a dense track full of worrying thoughts and feeling suffocated by one’s brain. These shortcomings sound delicate and tranquil in Rich People’s hands, providing a form of catharsis in the atmospheric landscape that is Grace Session.
There’s an uplifting cloud of pensive tone embedded in the thickest sounds of the record. Even without having to rely on distorted guitars, the band can sound dire and urgent with the pacing of their songs. Their guitars never quite become a gnashing earworm, but bite the right way to fit the dynamics and syncopation of the rhythm, like the seemingly lackadaisical vocal delivery of “Common Sound”‘s beginning verse, gradually gaining strength as the snare snaps along. Each melody is a delicate tap dance over that incredible songwriting foundation, really delivering a mature and brilliant progression. Even as the track delves into a heavier implosion of sound, it collects itself off of the grit and reaches a lyrical brevity and breaking point with a delicate outro.
The record was self released by the band on February 17th. Since then the band has taken their songs out on the road with Fossil Youth & Bogues. These eight tracks have an emotional weight that bears resemblance to Atlas holding the earth on one’s shoulders. Robert Rich went into depth about the meanings behind the songs on Grace Session, the stunning, infectious and breathtaking release from Rich People.
I wanted to lay a foundation for the album with a little intention/affirmation type piece that mirrored the classic “Serenity Prayer.” I’m not into religion whatsoever, but I’m a bit of a spiritual person and I do believe that words of affirmation do something for me. So I said my piece then allowed a fluid motion of sounds and atmosphere to carry the listener to a higher vibration before I just dropped them off in the middle of my emotional roller coaster.
I’m very sensitive to the way that people talk up or talk down to me. My observations and reporting of this behavior isn’t “right” or “wrong” per say, I just write songs based on the way I feel. Most of my life I felt like people were talking down to me, because I made myself small. Then a bunch of people helped me get my life together when I got clean and all of the sudden I was moving toward my assets and away from my liabilities and defective character traits. At some point I became very confident and began to love myself and stop allowing anyone to put me anywhere besides that. I accepted myself as no better and no worse than anyone else, but sometimes I still get foggy around this topic when people make themselves small in my presence as if I’m something more than they are capable of being. I accept myself for the most part on most days, but at this point in time I struggled to accept people who didn’t accept themselves. I’ve since accepted them as well and because of it my perspective has shifted so much that I don’t really notice too much up-talk or down-talk anymore. Maybe it was always all in my head.
I can be very judgmental of co-workers when i feel like I’m putting forth more effort than they are for the same pay. I can be even more judgmental of other bands when I see them acting a way that I see as lazy, inconsiderate, or ignorant and still getting big opportunities. I get this sense of pride that I am this purist who deserves more than anyone because I’ve convinced myself that I’m really working that much harder, but in reality I’m just trying to hard. I’m pushing myself too hard and not allowing the natural flow of life and this mentality causes me to burn-out and contemplate throwing it all away. I make so much judgmental noise on the way up and the chorus is really just me asking for some forgiveness as I descend from my pedestal.
(All The Real Girls)
I implanted a part of a song that my friend Robby wrote because I needed to give some context and set a tone for the song “Common Sound” that this directly precedes. He wrote a song when he was diagnosed schizophrenic and our old band was in the studio at the time so it’s just a marker of a time when everything changed for someone who I love very much. “All The Real Girls” was a song where Robby pleaded to not be stripped of his memories and ability to write and perform music. Things have grown too dark and too personal for me to say much more on the subject besides that he no longer does much writing or performing, and most of the things he once cherished seem to have faded.
I don’t care what this song says to anyone. I wrote this song so that my friend who has been in an extremely hopeless delusional state of paranoia for the past 4-5 years now could believe me when I tell him I love him. I just wanted to write him a song and it turned into a realization for me about the physical distance that has come between us. When I sent him this recording after we left the studio last year he got extremely emotional and asked that I visit him. I went to where he was staying and he explained that he now understands why I can’t chase him anymore. There was some peace in that, but sometimes the realizations I have about him get me choked up. I visit when I can find him or when someone reaches out and tells me where I can visit him, but I just can’t be consumed anymore. I’ve let go slowly in layers. This song is just a depiction of a time period in that process.
I wrote a verse when I was younger about some jackass dude in the hardcore scene, and later realized it was just more of the same reflection judgement. So here it is as the soundscape that continues to float the listener toward a slowly developing hopeful ending.
At this point I’m living in a basement in Fishtown being carbon-monoxide poisoned for an entire month and can’t figure out why my brain and body just don’t want to work anymore. I’m looking at my long-run with solitude since my last romantic relationship that was 3 years before, and wondering if maybe, just maybe, I’m playing a part in my isolation. Surely every single person on this earth can’t be so defective that I can’t find someone to love and accept love from. I had to remind myself that everyone is human and that I need to start accepting others’ human-ness on a new level or else I am going to be lonely in that sense until I die. I love to be alone because I am an introvert and I need to recharge, but there is a thin line between healthy solitude and isolation that I just love to dance back and forth over.
If the song “Post-Virgin” on our first full length “Jacob’s Ladder” is chapter one of my adult life, then this is the author’s note.
My friend Terry couldn’t stop relapsing at one point and I thought I was going to lose another person after finally getting vulnerable enough again to let someone in. When he came back a year ago we were in the studio recording this and this song was just a random instrumental that we threw together last minute in-studio. I was going back up the next week to start vocals and I just felt out this chant over it that I wanted to sub-consciously affirm in my friend. I didn’t make him listen to the song or anything but I wanted to air my simple experience with how to stay clean and my need to do so consistently. Maybe I thought it was for him, but it’s really just a reminder for me.
This is the ultimate affirmation and turning point for me. It’s a big bright wave that assesses my ability to be too critical of myself and others, but that finally says “hey Rob, the tide is changing, you are not everything you once believed you were, and you don’t have to fit into any boxes ever again.” I’m ok and I’m allowing my myself to catch up with how good my life has gotten. I won’t walk around playing the sad self-pitying victim anymore. Every form of overly dramatic and morbidly serious attitudes and behavior have become boring to me despite how much I once believed that cynicism showed intellect and superiority. I just want to be joyful. “I want to be all the way and unafraid to be”