To say the members of Rarity have faced a tough couple of years would be quite the understatement, but now, armed with lessons learned, a newly-cemented lineup, and an explosive new record, the heralded post-hardcore quintet has a fresh lease on life–and plans to take full advantage.
The Longest Lonesome, expected August 30th via New Damage Records, is simultaneously a musical tour de force and a piercing response the powers that nearly tore them apart. Working once again with producer Sam Guaiana (Silverstein, Story Untold), Rarity doesn’t pull any punches on the 11-cut collection, which subsequently skews darker and heavier than their previous output to very welcome results.
“It’s not a concept album, but every song is about and inspired by those same two years of our lives,” says drummer Evan Woods. “Really, it’s about coming together and conquering the things standing in our way.” Originally uniting in 2014, the members of Rarity started touring straight out of high-school and quickly amassed an avid following. In 2015, the Hamilton, ON-based outfit dropped their debut EP, Alive in Your Eyes, featuring the breakout single “Anne Hathaway” and showcasing a mature blend of buoyant pop punk and intricate post-hardcore that belied their relative youth.
A critically-acclaimed full-length, I Couldn’t Be Weaker, came the next year and, with fan favourites like “Stranger” and “Exhale,” proved the band’s quick rise to prominence was well-earned. Rarity saw their stock soar to impressive heights with high-profile tours and festival slots and, for a while, it seemed that they were unstoppable. But then, in 2017, the band watched as so much of what they’d built started to weather and crumble. They faced a cesspool of legal struggles, illnesses, strained relationships, and the departure of two founding members. That left Woods, singer Loeden Learn, and guitarist Adam Clarke with some difficult decisions.
It would’ve been easy to throw in the towel – and they almost did – but self-doubt, strain, and conflict soon spurred unbridled creativity, and Rarity, augmented by the addition of guitarist Corbin Giroux and bassist Cole Gardner in 2018, realized there was plenty to fight for. “The first song we wrote after it all just flipped a switch,” offers Clarke. “Wading through that really dark period brought us somewhere new, and all we could do was write about it.” And so, The Longest Lonesome started taking shape and Rarity was charging forward, entirely independent and self-propelling.
The music is still rooted in accessible, hook-laden melodies but with a sharper edge and more potent distillation of their various influences – from metal and hardcore to pop-punk, alternative, and much in between. It’s easy to hear how songs like “Shawinigan” and “I’ll Come Around” would slay from the stage, epitomizing the band’s now-signature sonic collage by seamlessly swaying from delicate, intricate melodies to soaring choruses to hard-hitting breakdowns. “Drown Me Out” offers a masterclass in dynamics with subtle verses that explode into an unrelenting and unforgettable chorus – the musical equivalent of a Molotov cocktail floating silently through the air before the blinding flash when bottle meets brick.
The entire collection is anchored by the unparalleled intensity and conviction of Learn’s voice and lyrics, transcending the tribulations that inspired the album and making it abundantly clear that Rarity is here to stay. Now, they’re eager to prove that fact from the stage. The band has long taken pride in delivering an impactful live performance, treating every show as though they’re paying their debt to the supporters and stakeholders that pushed them to this point, through the good times and bad.
“We’re here because of those people – the ones who rolled out for us and made us feel like we were doing something special and who still come out and sing every word,” Clarke states emphatically. They’ve also become stalwart scene-builders in Southern Ontario, collaborating in various capacities – from Learn’s video production to Clarke’s work with booking and management firm Passenger Entertainment – to empower their peers and achieve mutually-beneficial goals.
“This is the strongest version of Rarity we’ve ever been,” Woods says in closing. “This experience and this album brought us out of the darkness, and now, with all we’ve been through and the work we’ve put in, it feels like we’re invincible.” And so, with freshly-forged armour and a career-defining record in The Longest Lonesome, Rarity are ready to continue their rise – this time entirely on their own terms.