Premiere: Mad Abbey Cut Through Harmful Complacency On “Leech”
Comfort is a precarious concept. Innocent enough by design, it can often lead to stagnation and complacency when left unchecked, moving away from the goal of easing and restoring and ending up as more of a distraction or a hindrance. The last few years have made this all too commonplace, with familiar habits and pastimes becoming more detrimental than beneficial in the long run, sapping our mental and physical energy from growing and improving. Richmond psych-rockers Mad Abbey are acutely aware of this duality, choosing to explore this tricky nature with the use of their nuanced textures on their latest song, “Leech.” The lead single to the band’s planned series of EPs, this feverish romp offers unique insight into the complicated struggle with contentment. Today, The Auricular is proud to premiere the song a day before its official release on Friday, September 29th with an exclusive stream below and further clarity into the song’s probing nature.
Formed in 2017, Mad Abbey has been tweaking their quirky slant on psych-rock with bold experimentation and a unique musical vision over the years. Their debut single, “Poison My Sight,” offered a warm ray of neo-psychedelia when it was released in 2018. The band’s 2020 debut album, Haze Of Your Own, refined that approach, retaining the melodic charm of their first single while upping the musicality into more intricate riffs and heavier grooves. Now, the band is poised to continue pushing their music in a way that brings out the complexities of the human experience. “Leech” marks the initiation of an ambitious new phase for the band, a chapter that will unfold and reveal itself through their upcoming EPs.
“This song describes the healing process,” the band described in a statement. “Hardships and internal challenges caused from external forces make us confused about our own self-worth and purpose. These unhealthy forces can ‘Leech’ us of our divine light. We each carry that individual spark. The goal of the lyrics is to take that horrible confusion and turmoil, and for the listener and musicians, to reclaim our light and our voice. Self-Empowerment.”
Commencing with a hazy blend of sounds, “Leech” firmly embraces its thematic essence from the outset, resembling a busy mind looking to unwind its darting thoughts. The band doesn’t let that mind “turn off” though, quickly ushering in a driving rhythm that’s directed by a hypnotic murmur. “I think I’m turning upside down\ I think I’m turning inside out,” the band opens up in a repeating pattern that slowly raises the fervor of the music. “You know the only thing\ That I have ever known\ Is trapped inside my mind somehow\ Let’s let it out,” the song continues, using that last declaration of a jumping-off point for a lively musical break that is invigorating at a visceral level.
After a brief sprint, the band returns, observing the situation with more perceptive clarity (“And tunnel vision was my crown\ But changing channels keeps me sound”). The band uses a stop-and-go pattern here to help break the chains of complacency, building a churning sound underneath the lyrical verses that allows them to assess the unhealthy reliance on easy alleviations and then unleash once the rallying cry is heard (“Let’s spit it out”). The chorus, or what approximates it, follows next, a garage rock dash often accompanied by mesmerizing vocalizations, driving the push of the sound while still offering humming solace.
The result is a song that immerses listeners in an exploration of that intricate dance between the familiar and the necessity. It still offers plenty of comfort in a sense, but comfort that renovates the color and timbre of a psyche instead of muting it. This is what refreshment and restoration should be – stimulating and inspiring. Deploying a thrilling ebb and flow shows how the band is adept at not just creating music but orchestrating an experience, something that will stick you long past the runtime of the song. We will have to wait to see how the rest of that experience will unfold on the band’s upcoming releases, but for now, “Leech” provides immersive restoration and musical remedy in a way that will only deepen the anticipation for what Mad Abbey has in store.
“Leech” will be released to all streaming platforms on Friday, September 29th, which you can presave by clicking this link.
You can catch the band next in concert on Friday, September 29th at Cactus Shack as well as on Saturday, September 30th at Peppermint Haus. For more information, make sure to follow the band on social media.