It’s been almost 15 years to the day since Long Island-formed indie rock and pop duo The Narrative sprung onto the scene with their debut EP Just Say Yes, earning the band- vocalist and keyboard player Suzie Zeldin and vocalist and guitarist Jesse Gabriel- instant praise, a passionate fanbase, and a buzz within the popular emo and pop punk scene of the time (even if their sound never quite mirrored the majority of the acts within it). An eponymous debut studio album would follow in 2010, as well as a compilation of b-sides called B-Sides and Seasides in 2012, as the group toured the country, appeared at fests like SXSW, CMJ, and Warped Tour, and continued to amass critical acclaim. The culmination of several years of writing and recording, the band’s long-awaited sophomore album, Golden Silence, arrived in 2016 (shortly after they debuted at our former Acme showcase series), and by that time they had relocated to Nashville, which has been their home base in the years since.
After a few relatively quiet years preoccupied with careers, family, and other projects, the pair resumed activity amidst the pandemic, resulting in their first song since Golden Silence, “Monoliths,” in the summer of 2021, and another pair of stellar tracks, “Little Boys Break Hearts” and “Politics of Youth” late last year. The Narrative have remained hard at work on new material since, and are finally ready to share their first full project in more than seven years: a brand new record!
“New Anxieties” is the first single from a forthcoming four-track EP of the same name, which will be rolled out in the coming months with alternate versions of each track, DIY music videos, and a lyric video for each new song. In an interesting plan for that rollout, The Narrative tell us that “The main artwork has been split into 4 quadrants, each single being released with one quadrant of the artwork, and the full artwork becoming available with the last single.” You can see a first preview that art, created by Edwin Carl Capalla, as the single art for “New Anxieties” below.
“The album touches on a variety of issues, from anxiety, to having children, questioning free will, and navigating difficulties in long-term relationships,” the the band explain, “Throughout the album, there is a thread of authenticity, honest but direct lyricism, and a sonic landscape that is laid back but poignant.” In contrast to the duo’s earlier work, where they shared lead vocal duties, this EP features Suzie’s lead vocals across all four tracks. According to the group, “The majority of the songs (all but [forthcoming single] ‘Higher’) began with Suzie writing on them on piano at 5am while everyone in her house was asleep and learning Logic to do some of her own production (keys, drum programming, vocals). Jesse then contributed the main production elements, electric guitar, and his vocals. The songs were finished with Bryan Russell, a long time collaborator, producer, and mix engineer here in East Nashville.”
A prime example of the type of layered, harmony-laden, hypnotic indie pop that has become their signature over the last decade and a half, “New Anxieties” juxtaposes vulnerable themes of navigating unshakable feelings of anxiety with arrangements of rich, lush, intoxicating melody and earworm hooks, both calling back to the indie rock and synth pop of the 2000s and 2010s while also adopting a modern production polish. It’s the duo’s best song in years, and instantly makes their EP one of our most-anticipated forthcoming local releases!
The Narrative have been more active lately on social media than ever, regularly posting to TikTok and Instagram (Zeldin has also been active on TikTok and Instagram accounts for her new solo project, which she’s currently in the midst of recording, as well as a Substack newsletter). So follow them on social for the latest updates, check out their music on Spotify and Apple, and stream “New Anxieties” below!