Arbor Labor Union - Yonder LP (Sophomore Lounge, 2022)
"Arbor Labor Union are no strangers to the power of transmutation. The Atlanta quartet has alchemized their sound since 2016’s distortion-soaked I Hear You (via Sub Pop Records) into a mystical concoction of Punk-informed weirdo Southern Rock, they lovingly refer to as “Transcendental Twang.”
Their latest offering, Yonder, renews their vows to mainstay influences like The Allman Brothers, Minutemen, Neil Young, and Lungfish, but wields them in newly contemplative ways. Yonder is the more introspective, nocturnal yin to 2020’s New Petal Instants’s brightly kaleidoscopic yang, without sacrificing any joy or playfulness. Produced by newly enlisted bassist and longtime collaborative producer Rob Sarabia,Yonder journeys into noticeably cleaner and more robustly inward-facing sonic territory than we’ve ever heard from ALU before. Fearless captain and vocalist/guitarist Bo Orr lyrically examines excavating the depths of your inner world with light-hearted optimism and curiosity. Lead single “Always Wear Your Shadow Hat” is a winding ode and instructional guide to the freedom of embracing both the light and the dark aspects of oneself. But they are not sending listeners into this process blind; the challenges of this shadow integration are mirrored in the dizzyingly off-kilter interplay between lead guitarist Brian “Brain Atoms” Adams and percussionist Bryan Scherer.
While Arbor Labor Union is clearly untethered from the confines of the physical world and conventional thought, Yonder finds them deeply grounded in humble sincerity; providing a conduit between a cosmically-connected consciousness and a very human, earthly earnesty." - Autumn James