Cicatrix

by Second Letter

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about

Second Letter’s debut album, entitled ‘Cicatrix,’ is a uniquely textured, contemporary rock album that’s lyrical content serves as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the current political (dis)order and cultural climate. The lyrical content presented herein should come as no surprise given that principal songwriter, Rob Haworth, has been a voice of resistance for decades, both through his music (Farside, State of the Nation) and through his work as an author and academic (Anarchist Pedagogies, Out of the Ruins: The Emergence of Radical Informal Learning Spaces, etc.). The musical direction, however, may come as a bit of a surprise to fans of Haworth’s previous hardcore/post-hardcore bands, since it eschews volume and distortion in favor of the beautiful vocal layering of Bob Mould, subtle hints of Guided by Voices, and the piano/keys of contemporary Afghan Whigs.

Conceptually, the album explores the feeling of continuously being in broken relationships, from the opening song “Anything” to the last song “Missing You,” but it’s not meant in an inter-personal sense. Yes, it’s a breakup record, but its about breaking up “with the ill social, political and economic structures we live under,” and “constructing new subjectivities,” according to Haworth. The only point of deviation from the breakup theme is the sui generis rendition of Bad Religion’s, “We’re Only Gonna Die,” but somehow it still fits perfectly along the other songs on the album.

In essence, Second Letter came to life in 2014, when Haworth eagerly began creating music again, after nearly a fifteen-year hiatus from songwriting. After woodshedding in his basement for a few months, Haworth played a few demos for bassist Jim Kimball (J. Majesty, Retisonic), who enjoyed them so much he jumped onboard the Second Letter train immediately. A short while later, Haworth connected with Pete Moffett (Government Issue, Burning Airlines, Wool), who also took a great shine to Haworth’s new tunes, and was ready to up the ante of Haworth’s somewhat rudimentary drum programming. The next piece of the Second Letter puzzle to be locked in was keyboardist Carin Smith, who was readily able to recreate and elaborate on the keyboard and synth textures found on the demos. The role of second guitarist was perhaps the hardest to fill, but mainly due to scheduling and geography. After working with guitarist Matt Kane and doing a bit of studio work with Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred), Second Letter solidified its line-up with the perfect sonic creativity and talent of Chris Woodhead. Shortly after securing their permanent line-up, and playing their first few shows, bassist Kimball had to leave the east coast and the band behind, but he was soon replaced by John “Scoops” Hutchins (The Deadmen).

In the midst of finalizing the line-up, Mike Fanuele (Dashboard Confessional, the Deadmen, Further Seems Forever, and Breaking Pangea) came onboard to help the band take their early demos to a whole new level and was ultimately tasked with producing and mixing the final album. Most of the album tracking and re-tracking happened at Fanuele’s Lavabed Recording in Maryland, but a few sessions occurred at Noisy Little Critter in Pennsylvania with Mike Bardzik.

Once the album was complete, a copy was sent to John Yates, who is well known for creating iconic album covers for the Dead Kennedys, Jawbreaker, the Alkaline Trio, amongst others, and he agreed to work on the album. Haworth and Yates then worked together to build the album’s cover art and various other aesthetic pieces for merchandise, etc.

With ‘Cicatrix’s’ eminent release, the band is playing a handful of pre-release shows along the east coast, with more post-release dates to be announced shortly. Early singles “Dead Emblems” and “Ruins” have already gotten a lot of love from fans of the members previous projects, and they’ve torn up non-commercial and college radio airwaves on both coasts since their release.

credits

released May 11, 2018

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about

Second Letter Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Second Letter is Rob Haworth (Farside, State of the Nation), Pete Moffett (Burning Airlines, Wool), Chris Woodhead, Carin Smith, and John "Scoops" Hutchins.

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Track Name: Dead Emblems
My optimism has gone to waste
Fantasizing on some short sighted vision
A dreary state
But when I close my eyes I see one route
A debt, a lie and a costume made of fools
A debt, a lie and costume made of fools

And all this time I've been a reaction
To constant waves of delusion
Outcomes are framing my thoughts of distractions
Zeros, ones and more illusions

My observations have been lost
To the bankers, the suits, to the ones that nullify the truth
But when I close my eyes I see more routes
People, love and no costumes made for you
People, love and no costumes made for you

And all this time I've been a reaction
To constant waves of delusion
Outcomes are framing my thoughts of distractions
Zeros, ones and more illusions

I can't stand to witness
Over and over and over in my mind
I can't stare at it
Over and over and over in my mind
Wash our hands of it
Over and over and over in my mind
Burn it down to ashes
Over and over and over in my mind...
Track Name: Ruins
I think I dug this hole before
A feeling
Faint just knowing I have to waken
Hours wasted on the floor
Believing...I could mend such sick relations

Never seem to elevate
From the ruins you created

I'm spent
From the false hope you made
All in vein
That's what its come to
They'll end up bearing it all
When you made it
Ruins of our remains
Ruins of our remains

I think I've heard this joke before
The one where the cynic's invaded
Days are wasted for one breath
Believing
I could mend such sick relations

Never seem to elevate
From the wreckage you created

Chorus...

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