Australian prog rock quintet Acolyte release their latest album, Entropy, through Wild Thing Records this Friday, May 14. Here, singer Morgan-Leigh Brown talks us through the band's new work, from start to finish.
"Entropy is a fully realised conceptual record exploring the early stages of ‘loss’," explains Brown. "Presented like diary entries, the record ebbs and flows through an array of actions, feelings and emotions that are commonly experienced when trying to ground oneself all while carrying the early weight of trauma. Though lyrically the songs relate to me personally, I have tried to expand on those ideas and simplify my thoughts in order to make the songs and topics feel more broadly familiar to the listener. Hopefully anyone who has experienced the loss of something/someone they love, or even a part of themselves will find refuge and a sense of release from this musical adventure.
"This record is very dark, lonely and cold in its tone and attitude. It begins with the hard truth; a moment of disconnect/discovery and ends with not necessarily being elated and free, but with the acceptance of our new reality, allowing the fog to clear and the weight to start melting away, so that everything surrounding our heart & thoughts can begin to feel a little lighter and clearer. A lot of this record is written from an internal point of view threading title tracks together with whispers (mimicking a loud, manic mind) and winds of change taking the listener from one musical instalment to the next. I have erred on the side of giving a very raw, primal, and at times theatrical vocal performance to best portray how raw and real these topics are. The producer and I spoke early on about not overly editing my vocal takes so that the emotion behind the performances became the focus."
Prelude bookends our record and takes inspiration from the final track on the record in a much darker and stripped back way, setting the tone of what is to come.
Our opening track begins with the hard truth; a moment of disconnect and discovery. This song is written from the moment you learn about something that could turn your world upside down. How would you react? For me it features a whole array of emotions as I push and pull through the experience, not yet having all the information nor the time to adapt.
This song is about settling in to fight for yourself in the situation you find yourself in and facing the shitty cards you have been dealt.
As we recorded the Entropy record, I was right in the midst of battling a nasty case of Chronic Fatigue (CFS). I would attend the studio for a full day to lay down vocals and then come home and pass out for often days at a time. The pattern can be quite isolating and lonely. When you are that alone for such an extended period of time, the mind can work in incredible ways, both positively and negatively. Resentment was born from the anger I felt in this situation, the anger towards those around me for not fully understanding, anger towards those who took to trying to tear me down at my most vulnerable and anger mostly towards myself for letting any of it bother me. Resolved by holding on to one singular, clear, constructive thought that stopped the spiral and grounded me. Every situation experienced in life defines you and makes you so much stronger and resilient, especially in lessons learnt moving through the dark. In this moment it can be the difference between true insanity and keeping yourself whole, making Resentment in my opinion one of the most important journeys on the record.
4. Clarity - Feat Ben Richter Vocals (Circles)
Rock bottom; Clarity provides warmth in our darkest hour.
I wrote this song from the point of view of someone at their very lowest point, not knowing where to go, what to do or who to turn to. On the bathroom floor wet; alone; after staring into a mirror, and not recognising the reflection they see any longer. Featuring Ben Richter from Circles, this track offers a sense of helplessness and sadness. Ben and I present a conversation between two voices in one mind, warm and cold that reaches a pinnacle of raw, desperate, sadness before coming back down to a line delivered very warmly that mimics the prior line from Ben ‘I can let it go’. When I sent the track to Ben I discussed with him that I was searching for someone who could deliver a very warm and stabilising vocal that would contrast my tormented delivery. Ben is so talented and just knew exactly what I was after. The result speaks for itself and is one of my favourite instalments on the record.
After the previous track it felt important to create a moment that felt like a warm hug from someone you love. A short lullaby that eases the protagonist into focusing on what will be and not on what is right now. There is hope and light in the smallest of things.
With new found strength, this instalment offers that of pure anger and frustration towards yourself, the situation and towards those who you love and respect to no end who just can’t understand you or what is happening. What do you do in this situation? Often when one fights for stability in their own lives they really only have the resources to focus on themselves. They cannot fight for the understanding of others, and when the others happen to be those you love, it can lead to messy situations and outcomes. Idiosyncrasy offers the protagonists point of view in this very situation.
This instalment is meant to make the listener feel alone for a moment, mimicking what the protagonist would feel at this time. When truly alone, we hear and see the nuances in our immediate surroundings and in silence. The wind, the dust, the rays of sunlight, how the shadows dance around us, the fan, the computer, the phone, the clock, our breathing until the internal voices rise and take over.
Following the previous instalment Recovery starts with a single instrument mimicking a single ripple in a body of water, working its way up to the full band playing the same line together. We then spoke about how we would love for Dave to jump on the grand piano to bridge this track with our last instalment on the record. At this stage in the studio we had mutual understanding of what most of the record was going to be about and what emotion needed to be fulfilled by each performance. Dave came in one morning and had a coffee while our Producer set up the mics over the piano. What made it on the record is Dave’s improvisation which perfectly portrayed what the journey required; melancholy interspersed with small touches on hope.
The final instalment on the record is about acceptance of the protagonists situation. Taking responsibility for what you can be responsible for and letting go of what you cannot control. This song is by no means meant to feel elating but is about stabilising enough to provide a platform to rebuild from. It is once again portrayed from the protagonists inner voices and asks questions like, why, when, how ending with the phrases “its all in your eyes how we came to this, don’t be surprised” which insinuates that you know internally how this happened and how to work towards fixing the situation even if the path ahead is going to be difficult. From here we can step towards new beginnings, facing our trauma and making it a part of us and not fighting to push it aside.