Album Walkthru: Humble Armada - Tomorrow's Today
Boorloo-based five piece talk us through their atmospheric & enchanting sophomore album of psychedelic alt-rock
Forming just over two years ago in late 2020, Perth’s Humble Armada have wasted no time in making a name for themselves with their first EP from 2021 The Door, becoming regular fixtures on stages and line-ups all around W.A, before releasing their debut album All Around You in January 2022.
As that record was being released, the group retreated to their private studio in Yallingup in January 2022 where the band began work on what would eventually become their sophomore album, Tomorrow’s Today. These sessions were guided by one key goal - to explore something new and moving away from the more stripped back garage rock of their first album.
Tomorrow’s Today sees the band realise this goal, as across 10 tracks they’ve fleshed out their sound, incorporating elements from shoegaze, ambient and indie rock alongside their garagey-psych roots.
Currently on tour across Australia (see below for dates) and with their new album out today, Humble Armada were kind enough to tell us the story behind each song - have a listen and get to know below!
This was the first music written for the album, so there’s a certain sense to it being the opening track, signposting our change in intention and departure from the first album. We were inspired by features of folk-pop and krautrock on this one, really digging the generic drive of the rhythm section such that the song feels like it’s always moving towards a destination. Whilst the title alludes to a specific or nostalgic moment in time, it was really just the date that the song was written (which we sometimes use for demo files that haven’t been named yet) but we just left it that way for dramatic effect!
This track was intended to be our indie-rock song off the album, so we wanted it to be faster and include pop-styled melodies to help contrast from the rest of the record. The tones of the rhythm guitars are essential to this track, they really cut through unlike the other guitars on the album that are usually shrouded in reverb.
DON’T GET WHY
After the driving aspects of the first two tracks, ‘Don’t Get Why’ slows it down a bit and chugs along more like a steam train. The key to this one was tons and tons of layering; a good example is the lead guitar that pops up in the intro and outro which had about 4 or 5 layers for the one lead line. That lead guitar was also the only point in the album where we used a whammy bar or natural pitch modulation, but really helps to underline the psychedelic intent of the track.
Ramping up the pace again, this song is more of a dance track but compiles a lot of different ideas. Probably the most notable part of the song – and something we hadn’t tried before – was the saturated rap-styled vocals in the chorus which was influenced by a lot of the phrasing and intonation on Fontaines D.C.’s latest album ‘Skinty Fia’.
Possibly the most enjoyable song to produce on the album because of the effects chains we were experimenting with on the chorus guitar parts. We settled on having two stereo rhythm guitar parts during the choruses where the tremolo modulation was being controlled in real time, constantly being adjusted to fit to the beat. It created these imperfect dueling guitars that sometimes were in sync with each other and sometimes weren’t, which is a unique feature on the record.
ON TO TOMORROW
Another slower song that contrasts itself a lot over the course of the track. Both instrumentally and lyrically the song attempts to detail the extremes of addiction, flipping between the feeling of craving and the feeling of having what you crave. This one also features fantastic violin and cello parts that are sometimes beautiful and sometimes eerie and ominous.
One of the darker songs on the album. Originally written from playing around with pink Floyd styled chords and experimenting with ambient reverby tones. The whole song builds to reach the climax in the bridge. This is one of our favourites to play live - where it seems to encapsulate an audience.
Aside from the fact that we liked the name, we made this one the title track because of its more hopeful and optimistic expression, which is in contradiction to a lot of the music that precedes it. The long instrumental keys outro was a spur-of-the-moment idea while we were recording but it’s one of our favourite moments of the record as it feels like a sort of calming down or closure after a period of turmoil.
As our first instrumental track, our focus with this one drifted more towards swelling guitar effects and energetic riffs which leads you through a journey of mysterious and dark jams that we compiled together. This song was inspired by distorted jams from the likes of King Gizz and Tame Impala. We often amend our studio arrangements when we play them live to include random jams and moments that are reserved for the crowd, so we were trying to embrace and emulate that feeling.
MAKE IT BACK
The closer of the album and one that we’ve had in our locker for some time. It’s a reinterpretation of one the songs off our first EP and we’d been finishing our live set with it for probably about two years, so thought it was about time we released it! The single lyric in the song and final lyric of the album “love is what you make it” follows about 12 minutes of straight instrumentation on the record, so we really wanted to leave everyone with a positive and uplifting message to close out the album.
- Humble Armada, March 2023