While by no means a self-help album, Namesake’s new release Redeeming Features benefits from this shift in perspective. The band’s bouncy noise rock has become a place for Phillips to explore his gains. “The Taste” revisits the numbing nature of the Midwest drinking scene, including his memories of accidentally getting drunk on his grandfather’s lemonade. Disassociation after abuse—and the power of speaking out—drives British punk-leaning closer, “Out Loud.” But it’s strident album opener “I’m Sick,” that doubles as the release’s mission statement.
Redeeming Features is ultimately a sprint through the healing process. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a fun listen, evoking both the dark rooms of independent music venues, and nights spent driving around hometowns, volume up and windows down. Phillips is proud of how far he’s come and what his band has created. And with a little luck, he’ll be able to infuse other people’s journeys with a sense of joy.
“There’s just something beautiful about attacking really heavy lyrical matter, but at the same time, you can tap your foot along to it,” says Phillips. “You’re able to acknowledge things about yourself and to be truthful. But you have to tell your story with a smirk, because we all have our own stuff to go through. It can't be too self-serious! You definitely have to be truthful with yourself.”