If you've been lucky to catch a live performance from Chicago-based Paul Moody and the Revelators, then you've experienced the 100% heart-and-soul presence and energy that this band emanates. Their polished, tight sound with abundance of horns is both charged and charming - with lyrics that are honest and deeply personal, but that easily strike a chord of empathy and affinity with the listener. Hate Being Alone is the title of the band's impressive, new three-track EP, released October 5.
With a musical style grounded in American blues, folk and roots, Paul Moody and the Revelators music summons the feeling of humid summer evenings on the Bayou with a warmth provided by Paul's unique, yearning and folksy vocals - a true 'old soul' voice trapped in a young man's body. And let's not forget the talented Revelators - there are a lot to sort out! The current starting line up consists of Sam Cantor (guitar), Aaron Sweatt (bass), Collin O'Brien (drums), Ryan Tedder (keys), Scott Hoecker (trumpet), and Xavier Feliciano (trombone).
Paul Moody and the Revelators (Sofar Sounds | Trunk Club, Chicago, IL | August 24, 2018)
For Hate Being Alone, Paul Moody and the Revelators teamed up with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Nathaniel Rateliff, Iron and Wine) for a well-rounded EP that explores relationships and the heart-wrenching inconvenience love can afflict on us. Mixing elements of folk, soul and Americana, with stellar musicianship and carefully crafted arrangements, Hate Being Alone showcases the growing depth and cohesiveness of one of Chicago’s most exciting up-and-coming bands. Paul Moody and the Revelators draw upon a range of musical influences for Hate Being Alone – from 60’s soul and folk, to contemporary artists such as The Barr Brothers, Typhoon, Dawes, Sufjan Stevens, Fiona Apple, Phoebe Bridgers and more.
SoundThread Music Blog caught up with Paul Moody to talk about the new EP. We asked about the songwriting and production of the tracks, and gathered some insight into each of the songs on the release.
Kicking off the EP is "Hate Being Alone", a standout track that starts with Paul's voice and acoustic guitar, before bursting into an infectious, jumpy, horn-driven chorus. Paul tells SoundThread: "I am still not sure who the villain of this song is. The song bitterly laments the fickle affection of a serial dater - someone who is always in relationships, but never really that close to anyone. Someone who treats human relationships as a way to define themselves - thus, constantly shifting them to better suit their ego. But let's be honest: I am a wholly unreliable narrator in this instance. I am basically saying, 'I will be with you, I want to be with you,' while also saying, 'Hey, btw, I think you’re a shitty person.' Who does that?"
"Pathetic Friend" is my favorite track on the EP, with the best ever opening line ("Your boyfriend fucking sucks - what the hell are you doing?"). The song is written from the perspective of the friend who is in love with the girl but doesn't say anything: "Pathetic friend who loves you. Pathetic friend too scared to let you know". Paul provides some insight: "I was strumming the guitar one night and this guttural 'Your boyfriend fucking sucks' came from some unresolved emotional place in me. I wrote the song around that line and quickly brought it to the boys to help iron everything out. This one made my heart hurt a little when writing it, but I also find the anger, longing, and naivety of the narrator to be pretty comical... I don't know if this makes any sense - but we tried to make this song sound like the opposite of Frank Sinatra."
Closing track, "Lift You Up", is a folky, downtempo ballad of support and encouragement ("When you are broken, and you have no hope. I will be the one that lifts you up"). Paul comments, "I was listening to a lot of 60's/70's stuff at the time of writing this one - Etta James, Carole King, Otis Clay and more. Hopefully you can feel that inspiration without the song feeling too sentimental. It's a love song for someone having a hard time feeling worthy of love."
We also asked Paul about the songwriting, recording and production of Hate Being Alone. Paul commented, "On a personal note I will say I think Brian Deck's producing experience, combined with these pros that I am lucky enough to call bandmates, made the whole process so fluid and enjoyable. Brian insisted we try to record pretty much everything at once. So we had all 7 guys recording their parts together in the studio - and I think you can feel that cohesion on the EP."
PAUL MOODY AND THE REVELATORS "WHO KNOWS YOU" (Sofar Sounds Chicago | April 26, 2018)