Formed in Brooklyn in 2017, alt-country rockers Labrador have reunited to make their sophomore record, Hold the Door for Strangers, which arrives January 13. Though the project was initially a solo endeavor for guitarist and vocalist Pat King, guitarist Kris Hayes and drummer Chris Arena quickly filled out the lineup. Now, four years later, Field Mouse bassist Saysha Heinzman and violinist Grace Kim pump an extra layer or richness into the Uncle Tupelo–style arrangements. New single “Guy with a Job (That Nobody Wants)” exhibits a gutsy, gritty sound battered and bruised like a seasoned and beloved bar band. The quintet have never sounded so in-sync, and King’s songwriting language is beautifully draped in his heavy, crooning baritone.
“There are so many great songs that take on the perspective of an all-powerful God up in the clouds laughing at how silly humanity is,” King shared. “I thought it would be a fun idea to write from the perspective of an overworked and overloaded miracle worker trying to process every single prayer that comes in, no matter how big or small. I picture it being one of those thankless gigs like working at the DMV where the person behind the desk just has to throw their hands up to say, ‘You know what? I’m just doing my best here!’”
Hold the Door for Strangers will track a battalion of characters, like a populated novel or some enchanting universe that’s deftly and oddly familiar. The album was recorded and produced by Swearin’s Kyle Gilbride in an upstate New York barn, and will be released on cassette through No Way of Knowing, a label started by King.
Stream “Guy with a Job (That Nobody Wants)” below.