Photo credit: Kelsey Giesbrecht
Bearings has wasted no time establishing themselves as one of the more forward-thinking young bands in the world of alternative music. Their last EP, Petrichor, showcased their firm grasp on the realities of growing up and the fact that no one can hold onto any given moment. As a famous talking horse’s maternal grandfather once said, “Time’s arrow neither stands still nor reverses. It merely marches forward.”
The past year has found the members of Bearings marching onward. From city to city, town to town, the Canadian pop-rock group has forged ahead in a genre many see in a downward trend. As the pillars of the community have begun to fall to the wayside, including but not limited to the final nationwide run of Van’s Warped Tour that wrapped last summer, Bearings has pushed ahead with full hearts and weary eyes. Their songs have always spoken to the reality that everything you’re enjoying right now will eventually fade away, but with their debut album, Blue In The Dark, the band has found a new perspective that changes the narrative they’ve promoted since inception.
“Lately it’s not hard to destroy me,” sings vocalist Doug Cousins on the song “Eyes Closed.” The lines that follow make it clear he’s referring to the way he feels after having spent more time on the road than at home over the last year, but it also speaks to how life has changed for him and his bandmates. Where Petrichor spoke of impending changes that would irrevocably change the group’s existence, the majority of Blue In The Dark focuses on living life with those changes and the knowledge that, one day, they too will pass. That is rarely more clear than it is here, with Cousins singing to someone who has his heart and is (hopefully) awaiting his return. It’s the thought of that person and the life they’ve yet to lead together that is getting him through the moment at hand, which he explains in the unforgettable chorus:
Ya make me
Smile with my eyes closed laying in the living room
I wanna take you everywhere
Anywhere you wanna go, I’ll take you there just let me know
Oh but we both know that isn’t true
For now, but give this a little time, I’ll do everything I can, I’ve got the still frame in my mind
When I’ll be there, I’ll be there, smiling with my eyes closed
“Eyes Closed” also touches on something far more universal than the strains of life on the road, and that is the desire to prove yourself to the one you love before they grow tired of your bullshit. In this case, that sentiment is expressed best in the promise to take the person Cousins is singing to anywhere they want to go. He realizes their patience has made them something like a patient saint in his world, and to a certain extent, he feels as though he’s unworthy of that affection. If only he can get home before they realize he’s not the person they see in him, then he’ll do whatever it takes to keep that person around, but at the same time, he wouldn’t blame them for leaving.
Life may or may not be about finding true love, but it certainly isn’t about begging for it from someone else, and Bearings express as much in this song. Cousins stops short of pleasing with his love, but he swears to prove himself worthy of the passion he isn’t sure he deserves just as soon as he can get home. That sentiment should resonate with anyone who has found the support structure needed to pursue their dreams confidently. Anyone in that position would tell you that the catch-22 to achieving everything you dreamed of is that there are costs you never expect. Ideas take more than time and patience. They require focus, which means pulling your attention away from the people you love and the time you spend with them to focus on yourself. That may not feel selfish at first, but as the things that once seemed impossible slowly come into your grasp the sensation maybe things would be better had you approached life another way seeps in regardless of the joy you feel in the moment. After all, what is the point of gaining the world if it leaves you with no one to share in the experience?
The romanticism and wanderlust that runs throughout “Eyes Closed” are meaningless unless the object of Cousins affection is waiting for him when he finally gets off the road, just like your pursuits are worthless if it means giving up everything that makes you feel as though you have a home in this world. Bearings will likely spend even more time on the road in the year ahead, and many more days away from their loved one in the months and years that follow that, but at least they’ve come to realize what matters the most at the end of the day. Let’s hope home is still waiting for them whenever they manage to get there.
Photographer Kelsey Giesbrecht has spent a portion of 2018 on the road with Bearings. You can enjoy a selection of photographs from the band’s most recent tour below. Blue In The Dark is available now via Pure Noise Records.