As we eagerly anticipate the release of Time Spent Driving’s first full-length album since 2015, “Estrangers,” we are reminded of the enduring resonance of emo’s golden era, a testament to the genre’s lasting impact on the hearts of its devoted listeners.
This new chapter, unveiling on November 3rd, is not just a collection of songs, but a pilgrimage through the rugged terrains of emotion and memory, guided by a band whose name has been synonymous with authentic, heartfelt music since the late 90s.
The artistry of Time Spent Driving has always lain in their ability to craft soundscapes that are as expansive and moody as they are intimate and sincere. With “Estrangers,” the Santa Cruz outfit proves that the passage of time has only honed their storytelling abilities, each track a testament to their musical evolution and a mirror to the soul’s complexities.
Frontman Jon Cattivera’s intent for a more pared-down yet raw approach is palpable, as the band strips back the excess and hones in on the core of what makes their music resonate with so many. The result is an LP filled with songs that eschew the unnecessary, creating a space where emotion and melody can coalesce in their purest forms.
“Estrangers” is a narrative, a confession, a series of snapshots that delve into the paradoxes of human experience. From the introspective strains of “Trust No One” to the cathartic release of “Not Just Ink,” each song is a thread in the larger tapestry of the album, weaving together a story of vulnerability, resilience, and the quest for meaning amidst the estrangement we sometimes feel from the world around us.
As we dive into the track-by-track breakdown of this poignant album, it’s important to recognize that each song is a journey unto itself—a passage through the emotional landscapes that define our shared humanity. Time Spent Driving invites us on this journey, encouraging us to embrace the rawness, the honesty, and the transformative power of their music.
Trust No One
Be careful who you trust—your best friends at the moment may just be wearing a mask, and one day, they may take it off to reveal their true selves. You learn to guard everything after you encounter this more than once, so use caution.
Intents and Purposes
A new perspective is something that can be hard to break into after living on the planet for 40+ years, but I found out it can happen. This song is partially about letting go, and has a hopeful and renewed spirit. I feel like there’s a nice balance between our more melancholic leanings in the verses and an optimistic brightness in the choruses that shines through.
Under the Weather
When you have more than you ever imagined, and you’ve achieved more than you ever expected, that does absolutely nothing to settle the demons or suffering you could be plagued by. If you know, you know.
My wife and kids were out of town, so I had some time rare time to myself, enabling me to take advantage of some alone time to write this in one sitting. (Likely washed down with a bottle of wine). I came up with the first line, “The wheel fell asleep on me,” and the rest of the story revealed itself organically. I love songs that illustrate visuals through words and sounds, and I think I achieved that here.
For some, the highs are in a never-ending battle with the lows. The bad feels like it’s always trying to snuff out the good things that happen. This song tries to capture that.
I had an unbelievably realistic dream about the past and woke up with feelings from the past coming rushing back. It had been a long time since I had felt those specific painful emotions, and they came flooding back in a way that was hard to ignore. The intro riff was something I often just played when I picked up a guitar to adjust a tone or the volume, so I figured why not make a song out of it, and that’s what I did.
Things you do or say can come out wrong, or be misinterpreted if you aren’t intimate with the intent and haven’t had a dialog to clear things up. I think everyone deserves a second chance, or at least a conversation to explain themselves. There are those that want to hold you down, control you, and bury you. Sometimes, they get their way.
I started writing this one years and years ago, but every time I came back to it, it kept evolving. Over that period of time, I’ve lived in several different houses, been in relationships with several different people, and experienced many different things. All of those aspects are wrapped up into the song in one way or another, but in the end, if someone doesn’t want to see you be with you, or wants you out of your life, I think it’s better just to rip off the band-aid and address it with them as opposed to hiding and leaving them in the dark.
Wake Up and Smell the Daisies
I had this one kicking around for quite a long time, but only had a melody line and a few lyrics for the verse because I thought I might use it for another band where I wasn’t singing and didn’t want to step on toes too much. This is rare for me because I never write just music by itself, I always write the lyrics and the music at the same time. When I did decide to use it for this band, my focus lyrically was to be brutally naked, in a Bill Stevenson (All/Descendents) style of sorts—real and uncomfortably comfortable. I’ve been in some dark, dark places, and sometimes you need to shine a light on them to flush them out.
Not Just Ink
I’m not a tattoo guy, but I decided if it’s not in my power to see someone I love or be involved in their life, I wanted something to remind me about them every day without fail. The concept is about seeing them in the flesh again someday instead of just some fading ink on your arm. I’m still holding out hope.