The London based project “Attendant “has never been a band to shy away from a social statement. Rowdy, loud, and chaotic are good descriptors of their grungy, energetic sound to date. Intended to disrupt your placated impasse. Designed to challenge your laissez faire perception of reality. Attendant is not here (ironically) to “tend” to the implicit bias at all, actually. You can probably tell I love this band already. They have a new single coming out October 28th entitled, “Failing Grace.” Almost exactly 2 years since their debut single “Bootlicker” (released 10-30-2020); the band returns with a single just as intrepid in context, however, less brazen in delivery. In fact, the overall sound has matured substantially. It has blossomed into a wonderful hybrid of post-grunge, emo, and punk rock over the last two singles (“Blockade” and “A.I.T.A”). This new track is to be the third in what Andy Walker (songwriter, guitarist) describes as “an important transitional phase for Attendant.” The trilogy, as the last three singles have been referred to, lays the groundwork of things to come in early 2023. And that is plenty to be excited about, especially once you hear how this new song rounds out the last three efforts.
Andy Walker also goes on to say that he’s been listening to Paerish a lot and that has influenced much of his songwriting lately. I would say I definitely hear that influence as well. My first impressions when I heard the band’s music was actually a combination of a whole lot of things. Their sound these days strikes me as reminiscent of Anberlin, CKY, 10 Years, and Jimmy Eat World. Even some Foo Fighters. All of those but with heavy rooted punk and grunge tendencies. Some of the more recent tracks in their discography also struck me in ways similar to Rise Against without the screaming. Andy Walker’s vocals are super cool. One of those expressive voices that transcend an urgency but in clean tones, much why I made reference to CKY earlier. Musically the production is top notch, the kick drum and snare are punchy and the guitar tones are clearly articulated in each part. The track was recorded by producer Alex Loring across two locations – drums at Brighton Electric studios in Brighton, UK, and everything else was recorded at Ten87 Studios in London. One of the best parts of the guitar arrangements in my opinion, is the “emo-like” lead that starts off the song and then weaves in and out between transitions to each verse. The melody/root notes of that main lead is what all the other riffs in the song are modeled after. Andy Walker describes writing it:
“The writing of Failing Grace started with the opening arpeggio. I was sat on the couch, mindlessly picking some chord patterns and the melody just came out. I recorded it, looped it, and played a bunch of different ideas over it, until it grew into a complete song.”
Largely aligned with my takes on it, the track has also been described by others as “emotive” and “melancholic.” From a lyrical standpoint, the song is an appeal to women’s rights. A conceptual protagonist exists in the song, by the name of “Grace” who is referenced in the title. A title that could be taken two different ways (intentionally): one being that “Grace” herself is failing, or secondly, that society is “failing Grace.” In either context, the lyrics are specifically aimed at the choices, or lack thereof, for women as governed by our society, legislatively, and/or bureaucratically. Walker elaborates:
Grace has been led to believe she’s the one failing, when in fact the world is failing her, the lyrics represent the patronizing platitudes and gaslighting she is subjected to as she moves through the different stages of her life. The lyrics are deeply ironic, mostly meaning exactly the opposite of what is said. For instance, the lyric “we’re on your side” is like when an abuser says, “it’s for your own good.” The words of those in power often don’t match their actions when it comes to women’s rights.
Of interesting and exciting note about the single, “Failing Grace” has also been championed by Steph Nieuwenhuys and Melita Dennett of “BBC Music Introducing.” Certainly looking forward to this track hitting my library this week!
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