Atlanta, Georgia’s STAY HERE has grown up.
The rock quartet, comprised of frontman Parker Phillips (vocals, guitar), Julian Chawla (guitar, vocals), Julian Sosa (bass, vocals, piano), and Rene Acuna (drums, percussion) conceived the first iteration of what would become STAY HERE while its founding members were still in high school, eventually solidifying their lineup and refining their distinct sound on and off the road over the course of two years. Channeling the guitar-driven fury of the legendary Foo Fighters, the delicate melodic voicings of Jimmy Eat World, the dreamy, atmospheric soundscapes of Angels & Airwaves, and the seemingly innate penchant for distinct vocal melodies and harmonies possessed by Coldplay before them, the four men in STAY HERE demonstrate no regard nor interest in maintaining any semblance of arbitrary genre associations they once identified with during the band’s infancy — only an uncompromising drive to create powerful songs with incomparably passionate and honest lyricism characterized by a sonic intensity and emotional urgency largely absent in the work of their many contemporaries.
Grow, the band’s debut full-length record and first true album offering as STAY HERE, is a melodic tour-de-force devoid of even the slightest moment of filler across the eleven tracks that constitute its total runtime. The band spared no expense curating the most compelling album experience their collective talents could forge — enlisting the aid of producers Ian Joshua Riley and Dom Maduri, and recording the majority of Grow in various weeklong stints over a period of nearly a year at Toast and Jam Studio in Buford, Georgia before relocating the final sessions to the Atlanta-headquartered American Sushi Studio after an electrical fire unexpectedly devastated Toast and Jam near the completion of the recording process.
Thematically, Grow delivers a deliberate, yet heartbreakingly genuine coming-of-age narrative of lost love, self-actualization, near-death experience, and recognition of how fragile the elements and individuals that make up the support system in a young adult’s life truly are — and how easily they can leave of their own volition or be taken away by unforgiving circumstance. Sonically, Grow is as lush as it is heavy, matching each gentle croon from Phillips and delicate piano keystroke with pummeling vintage amplifier tones, cascading lead guitar work, shimmering harmonic textures, thunderous, muscular performances from the band’s rhythm section, and soaring vocal deliveries to furious, adrenaline-soaked snarls.
Grow, as a debut full-length record, is a powerful statement as much as it is a timeless retrospective chronicling the past few years of the four members of STAY HERE’s lives — that change is inevitable, and though sometimes poignant and painful, can and should be meaningful, constructive, and resonant — and that statement, coupled with the band showing absolutely no signs of slowing down in the approaching decade, stands as a testament to their individual and collective growth as a unit, and a firm declaration that continuing to grow is exactly what STAY HERE intends to do.