Life is all about tones.

The various shades of your favorite color.  The subtle outline of muscle on your significant other. The noise that reverberates off of guitar strings.

My Iron Lung have the last one down to a T!

(Fun Fact: The phrase “to a T” emanates from the expression “to a tittle” which was used in England during the early 1600s.  The expression meant “to the smallest detail,” originates from the Latin titulus and has obvious relation to the word ‘title.’

Anyway…

Learn to Leave is My Iron Lung’s latest work in the San Diego band’s growing discography.  It comes on the heels of SOS, a two song EP released in late 2015 that features the well-received single, “Set of Stairs.”

Since their 2012 inception with Grief, the band have continued to hone their sound and carve their name into the growing post-hardcore /  emo tree.  2014’s Relief carried the torch further with beautiful guitars and cathartic moments of fury. It is still an album that I often revisit.

Starting with SOS, the band have started to move in a slightly different direction from their previous works. Abandoning the philosophy that everything worth saying must be yelled, they have embraced clean vocals from both frontman Matt Fitzpatrick and guitarist Anays Torres to couple with the usual scratchy yells.

This “was a record that was approached, written and recorded differently to any other release we have done while still holding onto the essence of the band.  We branched out in ways that were new and exciting for us,” justifies Torres in an interview for Upset Magazine.

Their new sound trades rapid aggression for maturity and control while incorporating an almost Will Yip shoegaze-like element (that has mellowed out bands such as Title Fight, Turnover, and Citizen) into their angsty post-hardcore tone.

Tomas Doyle of Rock Sound sums up the new album beautifully:

It is very easy to yell into a microphone about what is troubling you – it’s much harder to do it with an artistic depth and nuance that makes said hollering compelling.

Pleasingly, My Iron Lung seem to have grasped the art and, as such, been able to imbue ‘Learn To Leave’ with an ebb and flow that will draw you in to its nerve-jangling bosom.

With moments of frantic, hair-pulling despair contrasted stunningly against sections of simmering introspection, it’s a body of work which shows the Californian natives to be a match for the likes of scene-leaders Touché Amoré and Pianos Become The Teeth. 

Living in San Diego for almost four years now, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys on three separate occasions (at three different venues) with each being more impressive than the last.

They’re a hardworking and friendly group of musicians (Matt gave me a free poster once which was greatly appreciated and has been in my room ever since).  But they’re somewhat unique in that they maintain a minimal social media presence. They post enough to not be obscure but not too much to the point of being overwhelming either, which is surprisingly refreshing.

They’re a band. They play music.  And that alone deserves your attention.

The album is not something you’ll fall in love with immediately. But most things worth loving never are.