Portland’s Ages and Ages is a collective of like-minded souls that believe in the power of music to change the world and elevate the spirit. Their music is bright and uplifting, with lyrics, penned by Tim Perry, that deliver serious introspective messages full of insight and consideration for others.
Divisionary, the band’s sophomore album, evolved over months of experimentation at Portland’s Jackpot Studios with veteran producer Tony Lash (Elliott Smith, The Dandy Warhols, Eric Matthews), as well as the home studio of Ages bass player Rob Oberdorfer. During the process, the band suffered the loss of a number of close family members and dear friends, so the songs became a kind of road map for anyone attempting to avoid darkness, without becoming consumed by anger in the face of life’s difficulties. “There were also great things happening,” Perry adds. “One of us had a child, another got married. Life was tipping both ends of the scale; there were a lot of changes going on.”
Perry spent ten days on a silent meditation retreat, formulating the direction of Divisonary, and his calm, centered vision is at the core of the music. The intricate harmonies, celebratory choral vocals, churchical piano and organ, inventive counter melodies, bright acoustic guitars, and exciting, interlocking rhythms set off aural fireworks to frame the grounded emotions conveyed in the lyrics.
The title track, “Divisonary (Do The Right Thing),” is a secular gospel song with inspirational harmonies, sanctified piano and smooth violin adding muscle to a simple refrain: “Do the right thing, do the right thing….don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering.” A stomping, exuberant bass drum pushes the giddy pop vocals of “I See More,” as it reassures listeners that, “It’s all OK, I’ll be on your side.”
The harmonies and intricate instrumental interplay on Divisionary are carefully crafted, but never sound forced, with complex arrangements that are naturalistic, invigorating and free. The clash between the band’s stirring folk sounds and emotionally thorny subject matter makes for a bracing listen, “as if the internal conflict is happening in real time,” Perry says.
“Ultimately I think the band all feels hopeful and blessed,” Perry concludes. “These songs reflect that optimism, but they don’t do so lightly or try to dodge the struggles we’re dealing with individually and as a band. It was an exceptionally long, hard road this time around but in the end, we’re all really proud and excited to share this record.”