Three years after We Are Augustines released their anthemic debut, Rise Ye Sunken Ships, the new arrivals to Seattle (by way of Brooklyn) are back as simply Augustines with their second album, Augustines. The first tracks from the new record, the arena-ready “Cruel City” and now “Now You Are Free,” lift Ships’ roof-raising choruses to U2 levels of ambition with shout-along choruses and rollicking drums. Where the former aimed for a call to arms, however, the slightly more subdued “Now You Are Free” is a bit more existential: “What am I running from? Myself and everyone,” sings singer-guitarist Billy McCarthy, who tells Rolling Stone the song is about shaking off self-doubt.
“‘Now You Are Free’ is about ghosts and hope, and driving in a rental car away from, and with any luck towards, something, or someplace that has been holding you back for far too long,” he explains, adding that the lyrics were written on the northern California coast. “The problem is the realization that it isn’t in fact a city or any physical place or love that’s holding you back . . . it’s yourself. And the immense weight of the thought that you’re getting in your own way, and for so long you don’t even notice anymore. Sometimes we need to lighten the load we carry inside, remove layers, and sit with just ourselves, no matter how hard we hate its critical reality.”