Jul 08, 2021
By Mark Redfern
Photography by Kevin Condon
Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio Nation of Language are self-releasing a new album, A Way Forward, on November 5. Now they have shared its second single, “Wounds of Love,” via a lyric video. Check it out below, followed by the band’s upcoming tour dates, including some newly announced European ones.
Nation of Language consists of Ian Devaney (vocals, guitar, and percussion), Aidan Noell (synth and vocals), and Michael Sue-Poi (bass).
Devaney had this to say about the new song in a press release: “‘Wounds of Love’ is a song about getting caught in a mental feedback loop when a relationship ends. It’s an endless inner argument—wanting to move on defiantly, but feeling utterly lost about how to do it when the other person has informed so much about how you see yourself. For every bit of progress there’s just as much retreating, and eventually it seems like this back-and-forth becomes the new root of your identity—still tied to the same person, just without them actually being there.
“During its creation, the song was really born out of the main riff—I was experimenting with synth sounds and delay pedals, trying to find something that felt kind of like ‘Man Machine’-era Kraftwerk, and this simple melody just flowed out. At first the urge was to go very robotic with it, but a laid-back groove fell into place and gave everything a really warm, spacey, stoned feeling, which felt like it amplified the emotional haze that the song deals with.
“Later, when it came time to make a visual to accompany the song, the aim was to capture some of the ways people attempt to navigate moving past those major heartbreaks. Throwing oneself into tactile tasks seemed like a fitting arena to explore. To watch someone quietly working a craft with their hands, taking their time and allowing themselves to focus in a way that hopefully quiets the mind and blocks everything else out can be incredibly calming and hypnotic. Whether at a professional level or just channeling energy into a personal hobby, there’s a lot of power in having a pursuit that requires attention and finesse. Tying that profound, resilient kind of calm to the song in a way that is not so present within the lyrics feels like a great companion to the track itself—adding a glimpse of a way out of the feedback.”
A Way Forward is the band’s sophomore album and the follow-up to 2020’s debut album, Introduction, Presence. That album came out in May 2020, as the pandemic was really taking off. “We’ve always been real believers in our live show as the best way to reach new people,” Devaney said in a previous press release. “When it became clear there wouldn’t be any touring, we were sure it was a death knell for the album.” Instead, the album received much acclaim (including landing on our Top 100 Albums of the 2020 list).
Abe Seiferth (who worked on Introduction, Presence) and Nick Milhiser of Holy Ghost! both produced A Way Forward.
Devaney described the album’s intent and sound in more detail: “A Way Forward is an exploration of the band’s relationship to the music of the ’70s, through the lenses of Krautrock and early electronic music. We aimed to more deeply trace the roots of our sound, hoping to learn something from the early influences of our early influences. Experimenting with how they might be reinterpreted in our modern context—looking further backward to find a way forward.
“We drew a lot from the steady locomotive rhythms of bands like Kraftwerk and Neu!, while also looking to less-propulsive electronic artists like Laurie Spiegel and Cluster. The goal was to have a record that felt like a journey, like being on a train that gets lost in a colorful fog, and then suddenly bursts through into different landscapes.
“Thematically, some of those landscapes are familiar in their melancholy, but we also wanted to introduce celebration and joy in a way that hadn’t really been present in our previous album. Having these bursts of positivity felt like it gave the emotional low points more resonance, giving a stronger sense of emotional reality to the album overall.”
Nation of Language Tour Dates:
08/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ The Sultan Room [SOLD OUT]
08/27-29 – Reading-Leeds, UK @ Reading/Leeds Fest [SOLD OUT]
09/09 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
09/10 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom [SOLD OUT]
09/11 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
09/25 – Queens, NY @ Governors Ball [SOLD OUT]
10/02 – Detroit, MI @ Tangent Gallery
10/03 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle [SOLD OUT]
10/04 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
10/05 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
10/06 – Chicago, IL @ Sleeping Village
10/08 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
10/09 – Denver, CO @ Lost Lake
10/10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
10/14 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
10/15 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studio
10/17 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
10/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Lodge Room
10/20 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
10/22 – Anaheim, CA @ The Parish
10/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
10/27 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
10/28 – Austin, TX @ Levitation @ Empire Control Room
10/29 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
10/30 – Chapel Hill @ Cat’s Cradle
10/31 – Washington DC @ Songbyrd
01/10 – Cologne, DE @ YUCA
01/11 – Antwerp, BE @ TRIX Bar
01/12 – Amsterdam, NE @ Paradisio
01/14 – Hamburg, DE @ Turmzimmer
01/15 – Copenhagen, DK @ Ideal Bar
01/16 – Stockholm, SE @ Obaren
01/17 – Oslo, NO @ Bla
01/19 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
01/20 – Zurich, CH @ Kater
01/22 – Barcelona, ES @ Laut
01/23 – Madrid, ES @ Sala El Sol
01/25 – Paris, FR @ Supersonic
01/27 – Leeds, UK @ Hyde Park Book Club
01/28 – Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast
01/29 – Dublin, IE @ The Grand Social
01/30 – Manchester, UK @ YES Basement
01/31 – London, UK @ Lafayette