Hembree are excited to announce the forthcoming release of their debut album House On Fire via Thirty Tigers. The LP is to be released on April 26. Today the band reveal the first single “Culture” and the band’s Isaac Flynn notes, “These days we put so much emphasis on things that lack actual significance. Everything is urgent and I wanted to try to capture this urgency in a song and question what we prioritize. It’s about taking the time to stop and reflect; to think for yourself and establish your own opinions. The song also touches on the lengths people go to for status and power. There’s the realization that these qualities don’t actually equal happiness. Thus, ‘the king of the culture is never really free…’”
Today’s single is the first bit of music from the Kansas City, MO-based Hembree since early 2018 when they were named one of NPR’s “Slingshot Artists.” Flynn points to the boundary-pushing production, rhythm, and pastiche of hip-hop as a strong influence on Hembree’s sound in addition to classic beat-infused rock like Talking Heads and Blondie as well as danceable indie music like Gorillaz and St. Vincent.
After the breakup of his previous band, Flynn started writing songs and recording demos. Calling his new project Hembree, he put himself through what he calls “three years of songwriting boot camp.” Looking to inspiration from masters of the three-minute opus like Tom Petty, John Lennon, and Bruce Springsteen, he started piecing together his dream lineup—because despite Hembree being his creation, he wanted the project to come to life as a band. Hembree now includes Flynn on guitar and lead vocals, Garrett Childers on bass and backup vocals, Eric Davis on keys/synth, and brothers Alex andAustin Ward on guitar and drums.
Hembree began to gain a following after Flynn posted the song “Can’t Run Forever” on Soundcloud in 2015, picking up myriad listens and interest from labels. But it all seemed too fast for Flynn, who wanted to spend the proper time to form Hembree’s sound while learning what the band itself was and could become.
And so Hembree worked on their songs and live show, eventually releasing an EP with Domino Records imprint Ribbon Music and a grip of singles like “Holy Water,” “Had It All,” and “Continents,”(Kitsune) undeniable earworms with infectious rhythmic elements that turned heads and found an audience organically. “Holy Water” became a hit on the radio, building upon local airplay to create a solid regional following before breaking through into the national spotlight, drawing attention from heavies like Spotify, Apple, Rolling Stone, and NPR. This led Hembree to sign with the esteemed Nashville-based Thirty Tigers label group.
Throughout Flynn was creating what would become House on Fire. Working with producer Eric Hillman in Nashville, whom the band teamed with on prior singles, Flynn took the time to carve out his realized sound with precision and sweat. All the while, a theme was emerging in his lyrics, one he came to realize was simply unavoidable.
“The album is about being from the Midwest and owning it, but at the same time being torn by whether or not it’s where we’re supposed to be,” he says. “I’m 27 but I feel like it’s a coming of age record, too.”
The ten songs on Hembree’s debut reveal a band filled with the confidence that is required of those who sound self-assured while discussing themes of indecision and uncertain identity. With House on Fire, Hembree have achieved what it takes some bands an entire career to replicate, a sure sign of their strengths in terms of songwriting, performance, production, and synergy.