Graves is one of the most outrageous albums we’ve ever made. It contains some of the band’s heaviest and creepiest songs (I was listening to a lot of death metal at the time) but also is the first album we ever made with a banjo on it (I had bought a banjo at the time). I think of it as a very philosophical record, a lyrical and emotional showdown between flawed religion and a hollow materialism, a clinging to the scraps of faith against a bottomless well of existential fear. But in between there is also a love song and a lament for a first home and a song about singing as an act of fierce and joyful resistance. There’s a lot going on here.
We made this album in two or three different temporary studios, in cobbled-together stations with speakers leaning on top of laundry hampers, stepping over amplifiers on the floor and stacking up the extra instruments in corners so there was room to walk around. It will always evoke feelings of homelessness for me, and if the production is a little haphazard, it’s still kind of amazing we built something this ambitious with our gear scattered across towns and no home base to retreat to.
We have never played more different instruments on an album and likely never will again (I still don’t know what possessed me to have Jackie play a bamboo flute over the top of a metal breakdown, or write a glockenspiel solo into an alt rock song) but I’m glad we swung for the fences at least this once. This album is complicated and heartfelt and bursting at the seams with ideas.
– Matt LeFevers, 2018
See all lyrics for this album at Genius.com,
along with annotations by songwriter Matt LeFevers.
Or view the album’s liner notes booklet as a gallery:
“It can be hard to see any unifying factors in this eclectic bombardment of sounds, but what ultimately binds these very different expressions together is the lyrical content that always revolves around faith and the existential thoughts it brings with it… This is however also part of why I like the band, because the chaotic sound that comes out of it plays so well with the lyrical honesty of the songs. Whatever style they play in, they are able to convey feelings of existential fear and sadness in a way that is so brutally honest that it will punch the air right out of your lungs.”
“Somewhere between a folk band at Coachella and a young pop rock act on the Ernie Ball stage at Warped Tour sits This Glass Embrace. If you like your bands with a lot of layers, then this one might be for you.”
We only made one music video for this album – “I Was Gathering Dust” – but the production for it spanned months and cities and countries. The song is about how the world will grind our voices out of us, and how we can lose the things that bring us joy if we do not fight to keep them. We put out a call to all of our artist friends – musicians, painters, dancers, creators of any kind – and every single one of them rose to the occasion, driving out to film with us or sending us whatever they could make themselves. This is the resulting video.
A video the band made for the album’s release day, talking about the recording process: