By AVA LIVERSIDGE
After individual Guards members found themselves in a series of high-profile rendezvous including collaborations with Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, the Arctic Monkeys, and Strokes member Nick Valensi, Guards have come back with a quarantine-produced single, “Life is a War.”
This deconstructed indie-rock outfit have always been the subject of praise for balancing raw and distorted sonics with heart-heavy lyricism.
For this single, Guards have partnered with Maison Kitsune, a French-Japanese fashion and electronic indie-rock music label conglomerate, as a part of the label’s effort to release a new underground single every week. They have joined this list of collaborators with many of their fellow indie-rock compatriots like Parcels, Two Door Cinema Club, and Tim Ayre.
In new single “Life is a War,” songwriter Richie Follin emphasizes the group’s emotive rigor as the track tells the fabled story of companionship amidst trying times. For a band that has been bestowed a label of perfecting the sound of 50s and 60s pop genre mixed with their personal indie-rock edge, “Life is a War” explores new limits for the group’s abilities and sound. Their newest single could slip seamlessly on an ’80s indie-rock hits playlist, right in between the Cure and Depeche Mode.
“Life is a War” was recorded in an impressive single first take, adding greatly to the do-it-yourself, garage rock quality the track possesses. Behind the message of friendship through hardships, Guards layers poppy synth tracks over intensifying percussion and buzzing guitar lines, all coming together for an upbeat ode to dreams, endurance, and the power of a good friend. The production value of this track, considering it was recorded in a single take, soars high as Guards take the risk to re-explore a sonic structure that has been somewhat left behind, and do so successfully.
As Guards ventures further into a personal, uncharted territory with “Life is a War”, they have certainly not failed to impress as they meld the vintage pop they hold dear with a brighter, ’80s rock jam. Now we can only wonder what Follin and crew will explore next.