Premiere: The Fourth Wall Shares New Single “Darkness of Heart” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, July 19th, 2024  

Premiere: The Fourth Wall Shares New Single “Darkness of Heart”

New Album Return Forever Out This Year

Feb 01, 2024 Photography by Lisa Haagen Bookmark and Share

Fans last heard from Portland-based melodic noise rock outfit The Fourth Wall with their 2018 album, Infinite Other. Late last year, the band returned with a new single, “Never A Part,” the first release from their forthcoming fourth full-length album, Return Forever.

Return Forever has its roots in a series of home recordings made by band leader Stephen Agustin during the height of lockdown. As he describes, during this period he was collecting and processing stories from his family’s history. He learned that a close relative had left a daughter behind when she moved to the United States. He became interested in what he calls “the poetry of forgetfulness.” “There was almost a way in which the impulse to revise or destroy history became a condition for achieving this joyous state,” he explains. Lyrically, the record represents an attempt to sort through the complexities and contradictions of these experiences.

The full album is out later this year, but today the band are back with another new single, “Darkness of Heart,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“Darkness of Heart” begins as a gentle acoustic effort, knit together with contemplative strums, understated vocals, and atmospheric synth touches. That placid tone is then broken halfway through with searing slashes of guitar, followed by the whole band joining in, transforming the song into a noisy and expansive sprawl of swelling synths, jagged melodies, and triumphant harmonies. The initial simmering undercurrents of longing and catharsis take to the forefront, leaving the track with a sense of both cinematic drama and a wounded ache. Meanwhile, the lyrics examine the long hold the past can have on people who try to leave an old life behind: “You’d think it’s all history /It’s not even past/You don’t have to love me/For the ghost to last/I can never tell/If I repeat what I repel/Become the heart of darkness to quell/The darkness just to start it all again.”

Agustin explains of the track, “During the time I was writing this record, I was processing all these fragments of my immigrant family’s history. In hearing a lot of personal stories about the conditions and motivating factors that led to their move to the states, I began researching some of the histories of war and colonialism (in Korea and the Philippines) that was always lurking in the background, though hardly discussed amongst family members across generations.

The initial idea of the song, ‘Darkness of Heart’ was to reverse the roles and settings of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness so that the ‘otherized’ individual infiltrates the ‘civilized’ world instead (hence the reversal in the song title). Instead of the ‘becoming-savage’ of Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, a new type of becoming afflicts the protagonist of the song. At its core, it’s a story about a person who flees their country of origin in search of the American dream with hopes to forget all of the past traumas that precipitated the causes for their flight. However, through the assimilation process, tensions from the past resurface in the new world, despite attempts to erase them from memory. The narrator attempts to make the most out of their self-willed loss of identity while being trapped in a loveless relationship that echoes past deadlocks. The song wonders if the haunting pleasure of a new world coming into being and willful repression of the past is what sets the repetition compulsion in motion.”

Check out the song and video below. Return Forever is out everywhere later this year. You can also find the band’s upcoming tour dates below.

Tour Dates:

3/15 - San Francisco / Great American Music Hall

3/16 - L.A. / The Echoplex

3/22 - Portland / Revolution Hall

3/23 - Seattle / The Crocodile


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