On Augie’s debut album, he dives into his past and brings you with him.
“Chicago Rain,” the debut project from Chicago native, Augie, is a collection of introspective works that takes a magnifying glass to the artist life, and does the same for yours. Augie, born Karl Lungmus, first recorded the “Chicago Rain” tracks in his childhood bedroom during a rainstorm. Those scratchy demos were the beginning of a four-year project. He recorded and re-recorded multiple times in various Use another word for word variation styles before landing on a sound that felt right. Even through multiple drafts and recordings the theme still stayed instrumentally the same, music to go along with the feel and sound of Chicago rain.
This symbol of rain that is so prevalent throughout the record seems to stand as a reminder that just as the rain, life will come and go, there are some beautiful and joyous parts and that there are some violent and dark parts. The album’s opener “Pt. 1 (The Bright Side)” plays to this idea almost to the T. Fading in with a recording of the rainstorm that started it all, Lungmus’ whisper joins the rain with the line, “Just because you know Jesus, doesn’t mean that you’re happy.” What follows is Lungmus pleading to “help him see the bright side.” The metronomical guitar spanning the track helps drive the song to climax with the lines “give me some love, give me some joy,” as it seems Lungmus is at his end and can only ask for what he doesn’t have.
“Pt. 1 (The Bright Side),” deals with Lungmus’ doubts within his faith, yet this idea comes full circle with “Pt. 2 (Your Love Carries).” In this second track, a continuous guitar riff echoes to the opener and instrumentally and lyrically relates to “Pt 1. (The Bright SIde). The two act as an open and vulnerable example of what Lungmus experiences within his faith.
Though there are threads of Lungmus’ faith and spirituality running throughout the album, it’s hard to classify it as worship music. Lungmus made this clear in a recent conversation about his work, “ I didn’t put any limits on whether or not the songs on the album needed to be worship,” said Lungmus. He didn’t want his work to be confined by the restrictions of worship but wanted his work to reflect his life, faith included. With songs like “Keep Your Coffee Warm,” that focuses on a past romantic relationship, and “True Twelve,” a song about his best friends, it’s obvious that Lungmus is reflecting on his past life in Chicago, that of which includes his faith.
The second half of the record, minus “This Love,” which expands on the idea that love is love, and “For the Anniversary of My Death,” an interlude with poet W.S. Merwin, consists of grandeur jams and delicate instrumentals.
“Pt. 3 (Leaving Always Hurts)” and “Perhaps” are instant standouts. The easy-going guitar in “Pt. 3 (Leaving Always Hurts)” adds a feeling of the unknown as it repeats round and round, yet when the explosion of drums and horns comes in, there is a feeling of hopefulness. Lungmus seems to imply that ‘yes, leaving always hurts, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.’
“Perhaps,” the final song off the record, is the most reflective of the record, and is the perfect song to leave the listener on. The album deals with the ups and downs of life, all the while there is a rainstorm in the background. The instrumental of “Perhaps” is not only the end of the album but the end of the rainstorm. In, “Perhaps,” it is the first time that the rain stops, and instead focuses on the sunny day afterward. The listener is taken along with Lungmus as he reflects on his past experiences, celebrates new life, fails in relationships and doubts in his faith, and in turn, the listeners begin to reflect on their own lives.
Chicago Rain began as a way to pass the time on a rainy afternoon, but ended up being a reflection of past experiences. Augie sets himself apart through his ability to bring the listener along with him, forcing the listener to look back on their own life.
Find “Chicago Rain” and further work from Augie on all streaming services and on Instagram @augieofficial.