We can all agree that 2016 has been one hell of a year for loss: Bowie, Prince, Daniels, and now Gene Wilder have all sadly left this world of showbiz. Not only have we had some tragic deaths, but we had to also say goodbye to bands like The Maccabees, The Enemy, and now Augustines have announced that their upcoming autumn tour will be their last.
I have never been sure about using emoticons when writing online features, but after hearing the news of the New York trio departing, I felt like this:
Augustines know what it’s like to have a split as lead singer Bill McCarthy and multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson formed We Are Augustines, who later dropped the We Are out of the ashes of Pela and recruited Rob Allen on drums. In fact, their debut album Rise Ye Sunken Ships was Pela’s second album re-recorded, and their former band are worth checking out online.
By the time they released their self-titled second, and the best record, the trio had toured the world and gathered a cult following especially in the UK with the help of tracks like ‘Cruel City’ and ‘Nothing To Lose But Your Head‘. Many of their live performances would have McCarthy and Sanderson walking into the audience and singing at the top of the voices as the crowd huddled around screaming the words right back at them. After a gig they could be found chatting with their fans and playing improvised car-park sets – they’re a band who just love performing and engaging with an audience, rather like Arcade Fire were able to do before they blew up.
Musically they have been compared to Bruce Springsteen, The National and Mumford and Sons. They are a group who aren’t scared of being bombastic, and they fill their records with a dynamic production that is fit for headlining festivals or stadiums, and stadium rock can be a dirty word to many music fans. There isn’t anything pompous about Augustines; they just make music that should be played to as many people as possible. In many ways, their core fan-base are probably pleased deep down that they never hit the same heights as their influences, as they got to see them play at medium-sized venues where they got see the whites of McCarthy’s eyes as he leant back to belt out an echoing “hey!”
Here is their farewell letter.
Their final album This Is Your Life featured some of their best work and included the stunning single ‘Are We Alive‘ that only reached number 67 in the UK charts, which is a disgrace. The lack of progression in sales must have made it hard for the band to continue going back and forth across the Atlantic. It is a massive shame to see them go, and it seems that there are fewer bands who have what they have and it feels like a huge blow to the music. There are still tickets available for their upcoming UK tour. Go and see them for one last time!
Check out the video for ‘Are We Alive‘ here featuring one of the biggest fans and Bristol legend Jeffrey ‘Big Jeff’ Johns.