Be Well
Hello Sun

A lot of times when you’re going through tough times, experiencing anxiety, or battling a stint of depression, it can feel like the fight is done mostly on your own. That weight can bog you down pretty badly until it’s all you feel. In a lot of ways it’s like breathing: you don’t need to think about it until you can’t find air, and then it’s all you can think about. Brian McTernan and his bandmates honed in on these feelings deeply on the band’s debut, The Weight and The Cost, and as McTernan describes, “I was caught in the center of a storm. I really couldn’t see anything except the destruction, and I had no perspective on what was happening.” On Be Well’s latest EP, the lyrical material pave the way for coming out of the toughest times fairly unscathed, or at the very least being able to see through the heavy fog that surrounded them before. On the opener, McTernan describes this feeling through a series of self-reflection, or as he explains, “On ‘Treadless,’ it’s me finally being able to question myself, like, ‘How did I let it get this far? How did I live my whole life hiding something that was so integral to whom I am from the people who love me the most?’” No longer being bogged down by the weight of the world on their shoulders, Be Well have every right to say Hello Sun to the better days that lay ahead of them.

Things start off on the right foot with “Treadless,” an aggressive and pulsating song about finding out who we are as people. On the chorus, McTernan shouts over gang vocals, “Help me find myself / I’ve spent so long wishing that I was someone else / I’ve wanted to get better everyday since I was a kid / It’s still so sad, isn’t it? / That I never did.” McTernan and his bandmates, which includes the dual-guitar attack of Mike Schleibaum and Shane Johnson, never fully give in to the heaviest of feelings, and instead use these moments of reflection as motivation to improve their outlook.

”I Will Leave You With This” features a more melodic, post-punk approach to their songwriting, and features steady drumming from Peter Tsouras to steady Be Well for punk greatness. Lyrics that tackle mortality and leaving their legacy through their music like, “I’ll leave you with this /What got lost in the midst of the deafening sadness / Is that I will leave behind / Records that document our lives / I’ll leave you with this / Piece of myself after years where I hadn’t / Felt like I could ask for help,” showcase a band rolling with the punches and keeping a steady eye on the future. “An Endless Loop” follows the great one-two punch of the first two songs, and bassist Aaron Dalbec has his fingerprints all over this track that prominently features his great playing.

The back half of the EP opens with the title track, a song about embracing the change in ourselves while still remaining true to who we are as individuals. The second verse is particularly powerful over the guitar riffs as McTernan sings passionately, “There is an empty hole that calls / Fill it with dirt and seed in fall / Let’s not forget that I was a mess when I met you / For sure there will be a stinging sense of loss / But you’ll find the strength to just move on / Don’t feel bad I gave what I had / It just wasn’t enough.” McTernan perfectly provides the narrative for himself to pick up the pieces and look for meaning in his life.

”Only One Wish” features an aggressive punk rock energy, and gang vocals throughout to breathe interesting new life into the sound that Be Well did so efficiently on their debut LP. The closer, “In The Shadow of Who You Thought I Was,” finds the band embracing their battle with depression and choosing to press on in hopes that they can find their way through the clouds to the sun. The chorus of, “Depression is haunting and I’m not ok / Everything is going to be alright / Is just a thing people that don’t know say / I’m lost and worried and I feel afraid / Of all of the things that are inside my head / That I have been far too ashamed to say / But I want to get better, I want to change,” finds them all admitting that they all want to be a better version of themselves, and they know it will take some self-work in order to accomplish their goals.

Overall, I feel that Be Well continue to age gracefully on their latest taste of new music called Hello Sun. I really enjoyed the direction they took on The Weight and the Cost, and I feel that this band is improving upon the best elements of their sound in their collective quest for being a better version of themselves. Depression is never easy, but it’s reassuring to hear this band speak on it so broadly, eloquently, and bravely to let others know that they’re in this battle together.