Release Date: Aug 23, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
To put We Are Augustine’s debut album, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, in the proper context, one needs to understand the major inspiration behind this brand of energetic and emotional indie rock. A piece on WeAreAugustines.com, written by Ryan Berg, gives the backstory. Jim, the brother of lead singer and songwriter Billy McCarthy, had a very troubled past.
When I first saw the title Rise Ye Sunken Ships and heard We Are Augustines‘ literate, anthemic rock, I figured it had to be ripped off from classic literature. It’s always great to see bands allude to the literary, so I did some Googling, but I turned up no literature, just references to the album itself. It stunned me that We Are Augustines’ album title hadn’t been used already.
Whether it’s the layer of gasses that surround the Earth or just a guitar drenched in reverb, it’s abundantly clear that atmosphere is important. On Rise Ye Sunken Ships, the debut album from We Are Augustines, this fact is reinforced time and time again with a collection of moody songs that evoke the grand emotional statements made by bands like the Killers and the Arcade Fire, but with a much more restrained approach. While all of these bands take listeners on a cathartic journey, We Are Augustines' approach is refreshing in its lack of grandeur, preferring to make its impact in a way that’s decidedly subtler and more textural.
Brooklyn’s We Are Augustines have gone through a lot to release their debut album. ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ is a record that’s emotive to the extreme – and given that it tells the story of singer Billy McCarthy’s brother, who committed suicide a few years ago, that’s really no surprise. However, in between the Gaslight Anthem-esque big choruses and yearning vocals, their cup rather runneth over and the deluge starts to numb slightly.
When We Are Augustines supported The Boxer Rebellion in London a year ago, there was little doubt that this band loved what they were doing. Playing every note with such frenetic enthusiasm, they not only upstaged their po-faced compatriots of the main act, they were at risk of having more fun than the whole of the audience put together.Their debut, ‘Rise Ye Sunken Ships’ elegantly mirrors their frenetic live performances in a tamer, more restrained fashion. An elegy in many ways to the loss of songwriter and lead vocalist Billy McCarthy’s brother and mother to schizophrenia and substance abuse, by rights the album ought to be a sobering affair.
A triumphant and alive debut album born from the bleakest of experiences. Mischa Pearlman 2012 Permeated by an abject sadness, this debut album from Brooklyn trio We Are Augustines is a musical diary from the dark, difficult days of frontman Billy McCarthy. Much of it is a response and reaction to his relationship with his late brother, a diagnosed schizophrenic who, after spending four years in solitary confinement at a prison, hanged himself while admitted to a psych hospital.