Thin Lear

Thin Lear

After his debut full-length album as Thin Lear, NJ songwriter Matt Longo had begun workshopping songs for his next release when the birth of his first child opened spaces within his heart he did not previously know existed. Personally and artistically, he tried to reconcile his new life as a parent with his identity as a songwriter – one who often drew from an artistic well of melancholy, writing openly on topics like depression and yearning for lost loved ones. This pensive introspection was the backbone of records like 2020’s acclaimed Wooden Cave, which AllMusic raved was "on par with the albums that inspired it: Leonard Cohen's dark backroom soliloquies and the more bittersweet moments of [Harry] Nilsson's drifty pop.” On his new Matthew E. White (Bedouine, Natalie Prass, Dan Croll)-produced EP A Beach of Nightly Glory, Longo draws from an unexpected and expanded well of lyrical inspiration, creating his most captivating work to date.

In a frantic writing process both before and after welcoming his daughter, Longo felt a sense of urgency to express all his overwhelming new emotions, and to chronicle such a delicate point in the life of his young family. Brimming with wide-eyed love, self-doubt, and sleep-deprived delirium, he challenged himself to bring together the disparate parts of his identity in song: the hopeful first-time parent with the inward-looking and often anxious artist. Longo workshopped music with his baby on his chest each evening, which resulted in a hushed atmosphere for many of the songs, and the most gentle melodies he'd ever written. He finished around thirty tracks to sift through, and knew he needed musical collaborators who could help sonically define the emerging project, and create arrangements as intricate as the songs themselves.

Working with White, Longo recorded the EP over several weeks at Richmond, VA’s Spacebomb Studio, with celestial contributions from the Spacebomb House Band throughout. The recordings are the product of intense collaboration; each morning, they'd brew coffee as Longo would demo a new song, playing it through a few times so everyone could quietly find their place within it. Then they'd shape the music for hours until it felt right, pressing the record button in the evening. With sun up, an idea; with sun down, an emotion set to tape. 

Over only 5 songs, A Beach of Nightly Glory explores and encapsulates the delicacy of being human. Each track is its own story of profound love, grief, nostalgia, despair, or hope–but together they paint a rich, textured picture of life’s chaotic beauty, and our capacity to hold several different emotions, and even identities, at once. Longo wrote the stirring slow burn “Richard Out in Space” when he found out his partner was expecting. “I had a dream that night about a middle-aged man floating through space, broken off from some meteorite, and yearning to be part of a whole again. I woke up and thought this was symbolic of the worst case scenario for my parenting: that I'd be a distant, distracted presence in my family, but still long for their love at every moment,” he explains. “Thankfully, I believe I am a great father, and in fact, loving and caring for my daughter is the only thing in my life that has ever come naturally to me. But this song was 100% first-time parent anxiety.”

Warm and resonant standout “Overnighter” is about witnessing a loved one's struggle with depression, and feeling an overwhelming desire to be useful. “This song tries to verbalize a kind of ineptitude, a crushing self-doubt that can creep in when faced with true despondence from someone you'd give your life for,” Longo explains. “Being the keeper of the flame for hope and positivity can be a tough task if you're feeling like you've already lost them.” The mood shifts on “Bowie’s Ley Lines,” a driving and upbeat tune chronicling a bleary-eyed night of teenage euphoria on the beach: “With time passing, I wonder whether those gorgeous memories have any value at all beyond distraction,” says Longo. Over a steady drum beat, he sings: ‘What good is this memory that rips me from my day/To a beach of nightly glory/With cassettes of Hunky Dory.’ 

Ultimately the A Beach of Nightly Glory EP is music that reconciles and stands at the intersection of two lives: musician and father; an artist trying to live in the present, eye-to-eye with his brilliant new world, doing his best to shake himself free from the weight of the past.