The refrain of “Glory Be” from Atlas Lab’s new album, Glory the Night, goes, “Glory be the fast food / glory be the rest stops / glory be the pavement / glory the night.”
The repetition is more than just a linchpin for the track; it’s the driving sentiment for psych-rock band Atlas Lab’s first full-length LP, which Sound of Boston premieres today.
“This late-night-sweet-drive-wonder feeling isn’t tied to any specific religion, but there’s something spiritual in it,” says Atlas Lab keyboardist John Shakespear. “On a certain night, on a certain road in the summertime, everything can be just right with the world.”
Musically, the album grooves in psychedelic, soulful passages—guitars glimmering with tremolo, electric organ humming, lead singer Solei’s recognizable vocals gliding on top of the mix. It hits with a pang of nostalgia for long nights spent with friends.
For how immediate the music feels, Glory the Night strikes a balance between some of life’s most dense and intangible dualities: fluidity and stasis, consciousness and unconsciousness. “Brand New Empty House,” is inspired by Carl Jung’s theory about the meaning of dreams, according to Solei. “Shadow” and “Wonder Why” address uncertainty and self-doubt.
Yet as conceptually heavy as the album is, there is balance. “‘Keep it Light’ is the light side of the moon, the positive outcome of self-analysis,” says Shakespear.
Since 2015’s Wake Up Slow, the band has added Otto Briner on bass, which allows the group to go back to playing their primary instruments: Shakespear on keys, Samm Bahman on lead guitar, Briner on bass, Alex Brander on drums, and Solei on vocals. This arrangement has contributed to their fullest, most psychedelic, and confident sound to date. “We’re still figuring some things out, but now we know each other a lot better than we did in the early days. Probably too well, actually,” riffed Solei.
Like many bands have, the group has spent considerable time together on the road, which they cite as a principal influence on the record. While Atlas Lab is from Boston, Glory the Night was created all over New England. The group wrote the majority of songs at the University of Vermont in practice rooms and a friend’s basement; they also wrote songs in Cape Cod and Atlas Lab’s practice space in Cambridge, and they recorded the album at 1130ft Studio in a warehouse building next to a river in Dover, New Hampshire as well as DubKing Studio in rural New Hampshire. According to Solei, the song “Crystal Lake” was named after “an important watering hole and gathering place in my hometown of Gray, Maine.”
What’s next for the band? Atlas Lab will celebrate the release of Glory the Night at The Middle East – Upstairs on Friday, August 18th with Abadabad and Aubrey Haddard. Tickets are on sale on their website. As for the next album, Solei says it will likely be an EP, but the group plans to take their time.
Now, feast on all things Atlas Lab: