In 2015, around the release of the Austin group’s second album Space Is Still The Place, Jackie O'Brien's brother Alex, the band’s manager of four years, was deep in the delusional throes of sudden bipolar 1 disorder. It was a time of immense stress for the musicians, who had began writing songs for a new album when Alex spiraled. The songs took a turn when Alex took his own life on the shore of the lake, witnessed in its aftermath by Jackie.
Titled after Alex’s middle name, Jude Vol. I ponders what it means to lose someone and then be left to pick up the pieces. Because of these intense thematic cores, the musicians searched for a more streamlined way to express themselves. Where SISTP is cloudy and filled with distortion, Jude Vol. I seeks clarity and clean, bold lines amidst the haze.
In late 2017, the band drove to LA and spent several months recording in Sunset Sound with producer Chris Coady. The band found a way out of their grief in the years that followed Alex’s death by focusing on the music. Listening to the heartfelt, evocative songs on Jude Vol. I may be able to do the same for those who hear them.