Take a quick scan through the liner notes of Horizon Line Fires, the new LP from Ben Trickey, and you may not spot the change. There’s Trickey at the helm, of course, flanked by violinist Jonathan Griffin, vocalist Tiffany Leigh Blalock, and drummer Kelsey Wilson, all familiar collaborators and part of the veteran singer-songwriter’s backing band. Joining them on this go-around, however, is guitarist Sean Greathead of Brooklyn rockers No Shields, who prowled Atlanta stages in the ’90s as a member of Wheeljack and Mascara Aesthetic. Together, they form the group Burnt Sky, providing Trickey a blacker, more somber canvas upon which to paint his portraits of castoffs, misfits, and existential dread. “I love this little dark goth thing,” he tells me via email, and it’s easy to see why.
New single “You’re Killing Yourself” fits boldly into this new mold, leading the listener through a tattered desert of broken love, shattered dreams, and scorched-earth guitars. Along the way, Trickey’s grim advisories succeed in letting loose a small army of conflicted ghosts and demons—not the ones that stalk you in your nightmares, mind you, but the ones you ward off every day through blithe nostalgia and workday routine. “We’re down in the depths and getting older / That hole that we’ll never climb out of,” he warns ominously, before copping to the bleak truth: “We both know we’ve always had enough.” Like many of Trickey’s finest moments, it’s a cautionary tale wrapped in storm clouds and hard truths where the moral remains largely the same: We’re all dying in some way, so we better get to living.
Horizon Line Fires is out tomorrow, Nov. 17. Pre-orders are available here.