Terrible Sons Announces New Album ‘The Raft Is Not The Shore;’ Release New Song “Asperatus”

February 24, 2023 BY Jason Currell

New Zealand group Terrible Sons, feat. husband-and-wife Lauren and Matt Barus, announce their anticipated debut album The Raft Is Not The Shore out April 28th via Nettwerk. The record was recorded in their home studio, with producer Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Nadia Reid) featuring a host of exceptional Ōtautahi musicians: Jo Barus, Joe McCallum, Cam Pearce, Chris Wethey. Pre-order for the album is available HERE and at terriblesons.com.

Woven throughout by the twin ideas of the passing of time and water, The Raft Is Not The Shore signals a new chapter of intentional songwriting in Terrible Sons’ discography. After three EPs, this debut album came together during the pandemic as the duo attempted to “write closer together, about what we know, what was moving us at the time, and putting ourselves in vulnerable spaces,” states Matt Barus. The band had a fluid list of titles but the only one that stuck was The Raft Is Not The Shore, a line from a Buddhist parable between a Vietnamese and American, two poets and activists. “One of the meanings was the idea to hold your beliefs lightly. In light of the entrenched spaces we find ourselves in 2022/23, this felt prescient and gave further meaning to our songs. To be willing to walk in another’s shoes, or to at least imagine, was something we wanted to hold ourselves to.” 

Terrible Sons have also just shared the fourth single off the album, the ominous “Asperatus.” The song is inspired by an image of a particular cloud formation that may follow a storm – it presents as “roughness” but generally dissipates without developing further. Yearning, yet with the tremor of what has transpired still lingering in the air.

When the pandemic struck Terrible Sons, had to wait two years between flights. At the time, they had just finished working on an EP with producer/guitarist Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins, Marlon Williams, Jen Cloher) and their full band, drummer Jo McCullum (Nadia Reid, The Veils etc) and bassist and backing vocalist Jo Barus (Dave Dobbyn). So flushed with the experience of having Tom at the helm that they promptly booked in a session for a full album of yet-to-be written songs. However, with New Zealand’s strict lockdown and travel rules in place, the recordings would take much longer than the songs took to write. Tom, in Auckland, had to book and rebook flights, waiting for gaps in the travel ban before he could return to complete the sessions in Christchurch. Six flights later, followed by six months of back-and-forth mixing, and the album is finally complete.

The playlist given to the band before the recording has a few clues as to the sound of the album. Simon & Garfunkel, Dr John, Bill Withers and Bobbie Gentry are there, alongside Blake Mills and Olafur Arnalds. The album looks to the past but is irrevocably modern, with glitches courtesy of Tom and concerns that are equally relevant now as they were fifty years ago. There are strings, space and quiet, offset with moments of frenetic joy.

The Raft Is Not The Shore tracklisting:

  1. Birdsong
  2. Sunset Swimming
  3. Easy Love
  4. Asperatus
  5. You Can Choose
  6. Yelling In The Wilderness
  7. Alright, Alright
  8. Hold Your Light High
  9. Tomorrow Always Comes
  10. Watching and Watching
  11. Young Blossom

Terrible Sons is the moniker for husband/wife duo Matthew Barus (The Dukes) and Lauren Barus (L.A. Mitchell, Fly My Pretties), who work and live with their two children in an intentional community near Christchurch. Having clocked up over 18 million streams on previous singles since 2018, the quietly accomplished band is signed to Nettwerk Music Group. Their string of sparse, yet intimate modern folk EP releases include their most recent and much-lauded third EP Mass.