“‘Dead Is Dead’ is a positive mantra on the subject of death,” Sam Fryer, ex-Palma Violets member said of the group’s first single in three years, which came after a string of 2018 and 2019 tracks which, subsequently, was followed by radio silence.
The new outfit, Gently Tender, is comprised of a cast of power players with a smattering of members from Palma Violets and The Big Moon, Sam Fryer, Will Doyle and Peter Mayhew, and Celia Archer and Adam Brown, respectively. And what they’ve come out with is a rustic indie anthem with a ghostly, badass tinge.
The heavy bass, minor key, and raspy chorusing vocals create a cinematic experience around this song. Yes, the lyrics find a meditation on the subject of death and offer a bit of a philosophical dive, but the musical quality of this song is what gives it the push it needs. The subtle horn section, the percussion shaker, the slight sparkle of the lead guitar—they all create layers of darkness that pile it on thick, and it carries the lyrics through.
Of the lyrical depth, Fryer said: “I’m speculating the destiny of the human soul – how we may all connect and where that might be after death. I’m using my voice to its full potential in this song, like a rallying call. I’m saying – maybe we’re not alone in death – there is part of our consciousness that does carry on in some form.”
He continues, “I fluctuate on this subject matter, but the majority of the time I do believe this. I think it’s important to be aware of death at all times, I think of my own death most days, but not in a morbid way – it helps me appreciate and refocus on what I’m trying to do – to know if what I’m doing is worth it. It’s a hopeful song, I’m excited to play it live.” It looks like what we have on our hands with this one is a good old-fashioned Momento Mori. But the simple reminder of death’s looming presence does not a good song make. This is why the haunting, spaghetti western infused indie rock jam holds its own on songwriting merit.
This is a song that would go well with whiskey. Don’t ask me why, it just would. You can probably get that sense on the very first listen. Other things it has an air of: thunderstorms, black cherries, urban exploring. It holds a sense of darkness and sweetness, and we can only hope that Gently Tender follows in this style as they continue to put out even more music like this (which we can look out for soon, as their debut album is due sometime this summer).
If you want to listen to their new single, ‘Dead Is Dead’, you can stream it on all platforms right now.