It’s been nearly 20 years since we last heard from Semisonic, the seminal Minneapolis trio who defined a decade of rock and roll with their ubiquitous hit, “Closing Time.” Though the band never officially broke up, they parted ways in the early 2000s, remaining close and periodically reuniting for one-offs and charity performances over the years. The shows were always a joy, and the three often mused about returning to the studio, but new music simply wasn’t coming.
“Every so often, I’d sit down and try to write a Semisonic song, but it just wouldn’t sound right,” says frontman Dan Wilson, now a GRAMMY-winning writer and producer known for his work with Adele, Taylor Swift, John Legend, Leon Bridges, The Dixie Chicks, and countless others. “It was almost like I couldn’t remember how to be that guy anymore.”
With ‘You’re Not Alone,’ Semisonic’s first new studio release since 2001, Wilson and his bandmates (bassist John Munson and drummer Jacob Slichter) have finally cracked the code, sounding more vital, more dynamic, and more like themselves than ever before. Recorded at Wilson’s Los Angeles studio, the EP is pure Semisonic in all its ragged, rousing glory, fueled by lean arrangements and muscular performances of poignant, bittersweet, alt-rock gems. The songs here are eerily prescient, reflecting on isolation, connection, and resilience in the face of profound change. Though they pre-date the current landscape of lockdowns and social distancing, they feel tailor-made for the times, mixing hope and nostalgia in equal measure as they reckon with our shared mortality and the interconnectedness of all things. Life may be strange and the future uncertain, but with Semisonic back in action, one thing’s for sure: you’re not alone. None of us are.
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