When Oakland's Trails and Ways put out their vibrant debut LP, Pathology, earlier this year on Barsuk Records, the carefully layered sounds within it all stood out to form cohesive and nuanced productions. It's funny to think how some fragments of brilliance were left on the cutting room floor, only to be discovered later, in a uniquely opportune time….
Enter, “Escape,” the band's newest single, a guitar-driven song that is more stripped down (in the best of ways) than what you'd normally except from Trails and Ways. It's a depart from the oft-tribal bossa-pop rock sounds we've come to love from this band, but the opening guitar sounds like something out of a '90's slacker romance film. Like Winona Ryder with a cup of coffee and Ethan Hawke tucking his bangs behind his ears in Reality Bites type shit.
[jump] “This is one from the album sessions that we recorded in a more live style, all of us playing, looking at each other in our small practice room,” says vocalist/guitarist Keith Brower Brown. “It's a rougher cut in lots of ways than our recent standard — for a long time we weren't thinking about releasing it and so we didn't do our typical long layering and tinkering — but to me that feels right for this song.”
And everything truly does feel right with this jam. Brower Brown says “Escape” is about “the strength — and even triumph — it feels like to look back and sense you've started to make a better, more honest life for yourself than you thought you could.” You feel fresh and vibrant with Hannah Von Loon's sick guitar hook, Ian Quirk's raw drums and Emma Open's punchy bass, as they all converge vocally for the track's awesome crescendo: “We made it, we made it out… the other side!” the four of them sing and the feeling is complete.
The premiere of “Escape” comes on the same day that Trails and Ways heads out to play a handful of shows in Brazil, where they're also signed to São Paulo-based Balaclava Records. This makes total sense for a group who also has beautiful songs in Portuguese and Spanish. They'll be back stateside in time to play a New Year's Eve show with Crashing Hotels and Breakdown Valentine at Bottom of The Hill. And you can get tickets here.