Andrew Reed & The Liberation’s “Twisted World” was put together during a time of extreme isolation in the Appalachian wilderness, based on the extreme pain Reed experienced when he conceived the song years earlier. An exile — a deliberate, yet uncalculated retreat from the distractions of modern society which brought him more into synchronicity with the primal rhythms of life. But a track this explosive “Twisted World” couldn’t have been kept under wraps forever. Once the late 2021 rock single by Andrew Reed & The Liberation became public, the songwriter’s period of repose and introspection came to an end amidst widespread acclaim. The song catapulted the fiercely independent band onto charts dominated by major label artists: #20 on the Billboard’s “Adult Contemporary” indicator, #3 on the Cashbox/DRT Rock Charts, #14 on New Music Weekly’s “Top 40,” and others. Critics followed with ecstatic reviews. Reed and his band beat the odds, and best of all, they’d done it their way.
How does a rock group follow something like that? Not by giving an inch. “Don’t Say Goodbye,” the latest single from Andrew Reed & The Liberation, is every bit as intense, mystical, and uncompromising as the band’s October breakthrough. Once again, the Asheville, North Carolina group has channeled something simultaneously ferocious and approachable: they’ve found the clarity in the madness and stood tall in the center of the storm. The song is about the “Great Certainty” – the transition from one dimension of life to the next based on Reed’s personal near-death experience when a wave took him overboard in the Gulf of Alaska as well as a catastrophic personal loss which sent him on an odyssey of exploration of “Life” itself. On “Don’t Say Goodbye,” Reed and his bandmates support this deep mystical journey through a study, muscular melody with stinging guitar riffs, driving drums, and otherworldly sonic atmosphere recorded with proprietary Monroe Sound Science (consciousness altering technologies) during the recording process. The track hints toward psychedelia, the lead vocals have the warmth and personality redolent of roots rock, and there’s more than a tiny gleam of metal visible in the mix, too. But Reed & The Liberation follow no template and adhere to no specific style — this is rock at its most elemental and a pure expression of the hopes, anguish, and longing of this inimitable songwriter and his ferocious band.
The clip for “Don’t Say Goodbye” extends the striking aesthetic of the “Twisted World” video and makes the alignment between the two songs manifest. Once again, The Liberation is captured in concert —and once again, the live footage is washed in raw, vibrant color. The light ripples, ebbs, pools, and swirls, taking on the immersive quality of water. Musicians are boldly mirrored: they’re blurred out by sudden blasts of illumination, slowed and stretched for dramatic effect, and shine like celestial bodies in a few powerful sequences. Gorgeous images of cemeteries are interspersed among the shots of the group in action and underscore the song’s themes of impermanence, destabilization, persistence through hard times, and fierce determination…and gives great hope that we do indeed survive physical death, and that there is really perhaps nothing to fear at all.