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Stereo Embers’ TRACK OF THE DAY: Planets In The Ocean’s “Hold On”

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“Art,” Vincent van Gogh once said, “is to console those who are broken by life.”

It’s fair to say that 2020 did its fair share of breaking apart our lives in different ways. Some of us lost people we love, some of us lost our jobs, some of us lost our sense of self, some of us lost our homes, some of us lost our identities and some of us lost our will.

Whatever category you fall into, one thing that’s united us all is that we’ve been forced to be so far apart.

Add to that a life with no movies, no concerts, no museums, no sporting events, no parties, no dance clubs, no bars, no raves, no vacations–well, that’s hardly a life that makes you want to shoot out of bed every morning to attack whatever the day may bring.

And so we have been forced to improvise. The last year has found us all doing our own series of pandemic pivots and some of us have found we’re pretty innovative, while others have found that their innovation wells have run dry. Both perfectly understandable.

COVID-19 has been devastating. Not only has it decimated our population by almost half a million people, it’s left us bereft of human contact and social congress.

So what do we do while we wait in this liminal place between vaccine and cure?

Well, we hold on.

And we let art keep us alive.

Which brings us to our Track of the Day. A breath of fresh air by way of Seattle comes the aptly titled quarantine anthem “Hold On” by the newly formed Planets In The Ocean.

A power trio consisting of singer/guitarist Robb Benson (Nevada Bachelors, Dear John Letters, Stereo Embers), drummer Cassady Laton (Dear John Letters, Stereo Embers) and bassist Gwon Chang, the band got together as a form of musical therapy to ease the sting of quarantine life. The project was executed over home recordings swapped back and forth through email, but in spite of the distance, the band sound intimate and integrated—they’re tight, they’re strong and they’re together.

Their new seven-song album The 2020 Mind is a sonic diary that chronicles the utter disarray and devastation of the titular year and the lead single “Hold On” is the exact shot of sonic comfort that we all need right now as we begin 2021 with an uneasy blend of uncertainty and hope.

A big, crunchy blast of assurance and understanding, “Hold On” is sympathetic to what we’ve been through and it reminds us that not only do small and tentative steps still count as steps, there’s also no shame in asking for help. Benson is at his breathless best and as the song chugs away with muscle and heart he navigates each turn with wisdom and sensitivity. As a result, this is as fiery as it is consoling—an irresistible blast of

This is a song that defiantly rails against disease, disorder and despair, but more importantly it’s a fight song for hope and optimism.

And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Visit Planets In The Ocean at bandcamp