The first word sung by Rob Wu on Mission To Sleep’s new EP Post Youth is “farewell,” arriving just seconds into opening track “Sunday Best.”
The final word on the EP is “misery,” ringing out on closing track “Into Thin Air” before a wall of post-hardcore noise and an outro breakdown carries the record home. Paired together, “farewell” and “misery” are a proper thematic bookend to the Boston band’s debut EP, set for March 25 release, as its themes and arches center around Wu letting go of the demons that have plagued his past.
Earlier this year, Mission To Sleep announced their arrival as a band with a seismic new single titled “April Doom.” Now, Post Youth is poised to declare their permanence, the latest chapter in a story that began in 2020 when songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Wu released a handful of tracks as a solo artist under the Mission To Sleep moniker. Since then, the emotive and explosive project has rounded out as an adrenalized quartet, evolving its sonic template from seed to stem with a lineup that positions vocalist and guitarist Wu alongside guitarist Jeff Kuznezov, bassist Justin Viveiros, and drummer Jon DeSousa.
Mission To Sleep is:
Rob Wu: Vocals and guitar
Jeff Kuznezov: Guitar
Justin Viveiros: Bass
Jon DeSousa: Drummer extraordinaire
Across Post Youth’s four tracks are an amalgam of styles and sounds that incorporate elements of post-rock, indie, post-hardcore, ambient cinematic soundscapes to enhance Mission To Sleep’s alternative and hard rock foundation. February’s “April Doom” centered around losing a loved one to cancer, with each section of the song corresponding to a different stage of grief: depression, anger, denial, and acceptance. The striking “Sunday Best” deals with bullying, depression, and self-harm, its protagonist inviting antagonists to a party, asking them to dress up, so they can witness him commit suicide. The atmospheric, hymnal-like “If I Could” dwells in how we shape and limit our lives to satiate others, and become caught living lives we never wanted or envisioned. Finally, EP closer “Into Thin Air is a melodic “fuck you” to those who abandoned loved ones; in this personal case, Wu bravely admits that it’s about his father.
“Post Youth is a creative response to life events that have had a tremendous impact,” says Wu. “So I’m really proud to let this out into the wild. Sonically, we wanted to put out songs that capture and marry the different styles of music that excites us. It is equal parts melodic, heavy, ambient, catchy, emotional and dynamic.”
And all of those things are amplified by Mission To Sleep’s final form as a quartet, with each member bringing his own musical precision to the fold. The music of Mission To Sleep is layered, heavy, and emotionally driven, a testament to the assembled foursome who show off an impressive batch of musical DNA that extends back to their previous bands and projects like Keep Me Conscious, Que Sera, Goddess of My Religion, Echoes of Petra, ColorGrave, She Rides, The Year Million, Marianas, Rival Cinema, and others. Add in mixing and mastering of the EP by Eric Mitchell, who recently mastered the forthcoming GlassJaw triple vinyl box set and acts as the hardcore legends’ touring front of house sound tech, and the players involved show a heightened sense of accomplishment.
“We’ve all known each other for 10-plus years and had always admired each other’s bands,” says Wu. “In fact, Jeff and I have tried working together a few times over the last decade but nothing ever came to life. When he and I started talking again last year, we were in similar head spaces, both creatively and personally, so it just made sense to bring him in as a collaborator. When we added Justin and Jon, it became very clear we had a group with a collective drive and passion to turn this into something beyond a solo project. We’re already excited about writing new music together.”
But not before showing off the work that has been put in over the past several months, a trying time for any collaborative unit navigating life in the pandemic age. Wu’s long-standing friendship with the newest members of Mission To Sleep instantly paid off, and the chemistry within the group elicits that of a veteran collective.
“Jon hits hard and with a lot of intent. He brings a punk/hardcore drumming energy to the group that gives our songs a lot of intensity. Justin knows exactly when to dig in or lay off with his bass and his tone is so dialed in – it really brings the rhythm section to life. Jeff just writes really beautiful textures that have so much emotion and complement my vocals and guitars very well. He’s a really tasteful player. They all are.”
The band hopes others will soon share their music with the same passion, enjoying it, dissecting it, and becoming intimate with its various sonic waves that help propel it out of the speakers. From “Sunday Best” to “Into Thin Air” and throughout the EP’s 18-minute runtime, the record’s glacial weight allows room to touch on several different genre labels and affiliations, without settling into any specific one. “We’ve spent a lot of time writing and crafting, pouring our souls and energy into this EP,” Wu concludes. “We think it will resonate with a lot of people.”