Getting To Know: alright (okay)
Liverpool-based alt-rock outfit, alright (okay) have returned with their first release of 2023, ‘Hotel Mabuhay’.The band’s upcoming seventh single acts somewhat as the closing chapter of this current variation of the band. As alright (okay) begin experimenting with new and exciting sounds behind closed practice room doors, ‘Hotel Mabuhay’ is the strongest iteration of their more college/slacker rock cuts.
With introspective lyrics, earworm riffs, cathartic drumming and groovy bass lines, ‘Hotel Mabuhay’ displays their most jammy, yet honed-in performance. It’s a bittersweet track possessing the 90s vibes that would give it a chance in the ring with Pavement’s ‘Gold Soundz’ - despite being a touch more brooding. We spoke to them about the tracks that shape their sound:
Gold Soundz - Pavement
Pavement are a pretty big inspiration for alright (okay), probably much like any other alt or slacker rock band. After all, they’re pretty much the template for the sound.
‘Gold Soundz’ stands out to us as an inspiration for ‘Hotel Mabuhay’, mainly because the songs deal with similar themes of looking back on your youth.
We take a lot of inspiration from the way Pavement writes and records tunes, they’re such a tight band but everything feels so loose. Mabuhay was a one-take sorta recording, with all of us playing at the same time. We think the tunes come out better that way, they feel more alive.
What Deaner Was Talking About - Ween
This is probably the song that kickstarted the inspiration for the tune. Back in 2021, Alex (lead vocals and guitar) and Jonah (bass) got really into Ween. I mean, like, really into Ween. It’s hard to exactly pin down what their sound is since they explore so many different genres and styles, but this one, in particular, stood out to Alex.
The way the song flows into the chorus is gorgeous, and that’s the same sort of feeling we tried to replicate in Mabuhay. There’s also a similar feeling of bittersweetness and melancholy about the track. We think we pulled it off, but I guess whoever listens has to be the judge of that.
Hey - Pixies
Everyone loves Pixies, right? Kind of similar to Pavement, they just set the groundwork for so many other great bands to get inspired from. ‘Hey’ is a tune we’ve covered a few times, whether it’s jamming in the practice room or at one of our shows. We love the off-the-wall energy it has, being equal parts catchy and punky. The noodly guitar parts definitely influenced those on ‘Hotel Mabuhay’. We will never stop spinning this tune, simply one of the best songs to be put to tape, just fantastic.
Cosmic Hero - Car Seat Headrest
Car Seat Headrest’s album ‘Teens of Denial’ has played a pretty pivotal part in the forming of alright (okay). There’s an angst and rawness about it you can’t not love, and it’s a similar sort of feeling we feel our tunes have. Will (guitar and vocals) even has a tattoo dedicated to the record!
‘Cosmic Hero’ is probably the tune we took the most amount of inspiration from when writing ‘Hotel Mabuhay’. The way the song takes you on this journey before building up and then just exploding… it’s great.
‘Hotel Mabuhay’ follows a similar path, with the song eventually building up to a cathartic release towards the end.
James’ drums on ‘Hotel Mabuhay’ roll and flow in a similar way than they do on ‘Hey’ and we think it really gives the song a good build-up of energy. The recording has managed to capture the energy of us playing it live too, which is cool.
Problems - Pinegrove
There’s a certain bittersweetness about this track. Alex came across it back in 2016/17 when he was in college and it’s always stuck with him. It’s such a simple song but it feels as though it captures so much in such a sort space of time. Feels almost criminal it’s less than a minute and a half long.
‘Mabuhay’ is a Filipino phrase for ‘live long’, with this message inspiring the narrative around the track’s lyrics of looking back on younger years and celebrating that they’re behind you, not really wanting to redo them.
‘Problems’ has a similar sense of sad nostalgia about it that always makes me (Alex) think of ‘Hotel Mabuhay’ whenever we hear it. Whether it’s been a direct influence of the track or not, it’s definitely a tune you should check out.