For American Aquarium, the last few years have been about finding out where they belong. In 2012, the North Carolina roots-rockers made what they thought would be their farewell album, Burn.Flicker.Die., but its success convinced them to stay the course.
On their upcoming project, Wolves, the musicians sound revitalized, like their dreams are alive once again. But front man BJ Barham says they’re not the same group of kids who burned the candle at both ends.
“I’ve always written about being the drunk guy at the bar at 2 a.m.,” he says. “I’ve written about the pickup lines and the drinking and the drugs. This record is more personal than that. It’s a coming-of-age record.”
Perhaps the song that best illustrates Barham’s new attitude is “Man I’m Supposed to Be,” along with its new video.
Barham’s confident but quiet vocals take center stage in what seems more like a journal entry than a manifesto. He admits his faults, but seems renewed in the knowledge that all the failures just helped to define who — and what — he really is.
Filmed alone but surrounded by memories, Barham wrestles with his thoughts, writing the song down as he sings it. Backed by a dragging drum beat and soft, sweeping guitars, he comes to terms with who he is once and for all.
Wolves comes out Feb. 3, and you can catch the band at two hometown shows at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend (Jan. 30-31).
Until then, check out American Aquarium’s video for “Man I’m Supposed to Be.”