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Tracks of the Week: See You Again by Cold Beat

San Francisco-based band Cold Beat announce their new album, War Garden, out September 17th via Like LTD, and share its lead single/video, “See You Again.” The name War Garden is both a reference and a revelation. Although it gets its namesake from the self-sufficiency of World War II civilians to plant and grow their own food, in a more metaphorical sense it sprouted from a sense of connection, during a time where it was physically impossible to do so. The distance caused by the pandemic strengthened the bond between members Hannah Lew, Sean Monaghan, Kyle King, and Luciano Talpini Aita, resulting in an album that’s a remarkable leap from their earlier guitar-forward work. Following multiple albums and EPs, plus collaborations with notable contemporaries and icons such as Los Angeles artist Cooper Saver and Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder, War Garden presents Cold Beat as a fully realized unit. They openly embrace a synthesized landscape with rich harmonies and 80s pop flourishes, all while maintaining a complex emotional depth.

Rather than the sound reflecting the surrounding despair, the music is often suitable for the dance-floor, driven by steady, machine-like rhythms and ethereal vocals. War Garden calls to mind some of the greats: The melodies of Human League, the syncopation of Oppenheimer Analysis, and everything about New Order. While Lew is the front person, all members all contributed to the songwriting.

Lead single “See You Again” was written via zoom, like the rest of the album. This particular track was created in the first three months of lockdown and chronicled the feelings that came with the realization that they wouldn’t see each other for an unknown stretch of time. After Lew sat a shiva for a family friend, Monaghan sent another version of the song, and it developed into meditation on the unknown possibility of reconnecting with loved ones in the afterlife. “I had spent many months toiling in the dirt, tending to my War Garden,” says Lew. “Working with the soil is so hopeful, but also morbid. I had to bury some bulbs instead of being able to be present for the burial of a close friend. It became almost fetishistic to bury seeds, like a physical way to be there without actually being able to be there.”

The accompanying video, directed by Mimi Pfahler and shot in Lew’s yard and at Ocean Beach, was the first reconnection opportunity many had. “Among people on set I know there was a sense of transcendence - just a moment to give form to the feelings of isolation and physical need for each other that had built up,” says Lew.

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