In 2015 Amber Run seemed to be at the top of the their game. They had just released their wildly successful debut album 5am (RCA Victor), and were topping charts all over the world. Yet behind the scenes an entirely different picture was being painted, and by the following year they would have been dropped from their major label and have lost a member. At that point in time there were doubts that a second album would even be released. It was in that time of blind uncertainty that their sophomore album For a Moment, I Was Lost (released 2/2017 via Dine Alone Records/Easy Life Records) would be born.
The first single “Haze” was released almost exactly a year after the release of 5am and was quite unlike anything else that they have brought to the table. Without the confines of a major label Amber Run were able to make and release the singles that they wanted and from that they gave us “Haze.” A track that is completely devoid of any instrumental backing and is carried solely by a mixture of electronically fused and natural vocals. Its lyrics tell a tale of an overwhelming wave of gloom and the loss of friendships and relationships alike. While it is not unlike Amber Run to be open and honest in their songwriting, this single is something completely different; it’s an open wound that has been laid on a track and shared with the world. This is the first time that you get the feeling that Amber Run are creating the music that they want to create for the sake of loving music.
Watch: “Haze” – Amber Run
The next couple singles to be released “Stranger“ and “No Answers” even further thrust the listener into the world of the uncertain and clearly laid the path for what to expect from the upcoming album. While the previous three singles gave the listener an insight into the unknown it wasn’t until the last single “Fickle Game” was released that one was finally able to get to feel how hauntingly honest Amber Run were being with this album.
“Fickle Game” tells the story of being in limbo in-between life and death and being here and there. The song feels like a blind realization of just how fickle the entire human existence is in itself. It makes one look in and question humanity on a grander scale all the while adding a different dimension to the band. The music is no longer simply about personal trials and tribulations it is something bigger than that all together.
I want to be older, I want to be stronger
I don’t want to fall at the start
I want to be quicker, I want to get closer
Don’t want to feel worlds apart
‘Cause I’m fast enough to get in trouble
But not fast enough to get away
Watch: “Fickle Game” – Amber Run
One of the greatest problems that Amber Run faced in the past was their steady push to being mainstream enough to gain attention of the masses. Yet on their debut album, their moments of pure originality are the ones that show through the most. This conformity and lack of originality is what held their album back from being absolutely spectacular, and unfortunately left it as good, yet forgettable. With their sophomore album, it appears that Amber Run finally found their originality, whether that resulted from being stripped from the confines of the expectations of a major label, or entirely on their own. Either way, Amber Run’s comfort in their own skin brings their album to new heights that they had yet to reach before.
From the second you press play on opener “Insomniac,” you are hit with a heavy piano riff that resonates deeper than most opening tracks would. From there, the band launches into a song full of questioning, resonating deeply and hitting home when the words “are you lost?” are repeated over and over in the final minutes of the song. While listening, it becomes inherently obvious why this track was chosen to open the album; it’s like a coming home track with Amber Run announcing that they are back and better than ever before.
With the other tracks on the album like “Island” and “White Lie,” you can tell that they are making the music out of actual love of making music and not for the grander cause of appealing to a certain group of listeners. They speak of introspection and also self-acceptance, and show the most vulnerable sides of the band. While most artists try to shield themselves from revealing too much through their lyrics, epically when it comes to self doubt, Amber Run are not afraid to lay it all out on the table. That in itself is what makes this record so human, because in the end we all suffer and we all have moments where we feel lost. And when it comes down to it, if music isn’t making you feel something, it isn’t doing its job.
With all of that being said, Amber Run hit the nail on the head with this album; they show originality in all of the places they lacked before, they took all of the emotions that were swirling around them and channeled them into one beautifully crafted record, and above all they persevered when they thought they couldn’t. With For a Moment, I Was Lost, Amber Run show us their true potential as a band while still leaving room to grow even further. Because in the end, it’s okay to be lost for a bit – as long as somewhere along the road you find yourself again.
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