Brooklyn-based indie band San Fermin is back with its third studio album, Belong, and we have it streaming right here a week ahead of its release date.
San Fermin is comprised of many parts; bandleader Ellis Ludwig-Leone writes and produces the songs, which are performed by lead vocalists Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate, trumpet player John Brandon, saxophonist Stephen Chen, violinist Claire Wellin, drummer Michael Hanf, and guitarists Tyler McDiarmid and Aki Ishiguro.
Together, they make a sound that is difficult to define; they are essentially an indie rock band, but one with roots in chamber pop, and augmented by layers of mesmerizing vocals and mid-tempo synths.
You can hear these elements come together on their latest single, “No Promises.”
Belong is a followup to 2015's well-received Jackrabbit. Ludwig-Leone says it marks the first time he has tried writing songs from a personal perspective.
“In the past I’d usually write through characters from books or movies, as a way to try to distance myself from what I was writing about,” he says, via press release. “As I’ve become more confident as a songwriter, I decided that I could drop some of the artifice and write something more direct.”
Read his track-by-track guide to the album below.
"A call from that little nagging voice, telling you you might be a bad person, or at least want bad things."
"This song is about a disassociative moment at a wedding. True story, though I imagined it from the bride’s perspective."
"This is about the druggy effect of full-blown panic; how in a weird way it’s this intoxicating feeling that you want to give into. Lyrically it’s a response to 'Bride,' and musically it’s an echo of 'Open.'"
"About wanting somebody so much you’re scared you’ll do terrible things to them."
"This was a breakthrough moment for me — it was the first song I wrote just from my own perspective. It’s about sitting in my basement, never leaving the house except for take out, and feeling kind of stupid about being such a whiner."
"This one is about being a bandleader. The hubris of telling all these people to trust you and devote years of their lives to your dumb ideas, and the fear that you’ll let them down."
"This song is about loving somebody really deeply and yet realizing that for some sad reason, you’re not always present when you’re with them."
"This is about feeling unsure about a relationship, worrying if things are going to work out, and then trying to forget about it by sleeping together."
"It's about not wanting anybody to depend on you. Particularly kids, who are always sticky and sick and kind of wig me out."
"About a friend who avoids her sorrows by going out, drinking too much, and being generally self-destructive."
"This is kind of a self-portrait: winning ribbons and medals as a kid, turning into a striving young adult, becoming wracked by insecurities and dependent on external validation. Meanwhile the chorus lyrics refer to the month I spent alone while my girlfriend was in LA — 28 weird, sleepless nights in February."
"This might have been at home on the first San Fermin record; it’s got the same kind of grand scope. I spent a lot of time in the woods growing up, and I was always calmer and happier there than anywhere else. This song imagines a life in which I never had to leave. But then the 'storm' section hits and it complicates things."
'Happiness Will Ruin This Place'
"I’d never written a story song before, so this was a first. It’s a parable about being an artist, how you can try to be domestic or you can try to live a wilder life, but either way you lose something."
San Fermin will tour extensively in support of Belong. See tour dates here.
Belong will be released on April 7 via Universal Music. Pre-order the album here.