Bought a dead man’s suit in Denver / Then I wore it onstage,” sings Altameda’s Troy Snaterse, his voice drifting out over a bed of slowly shifting piano and synth chords. “Got me thinking about impermanence / How everything dies with age.”
Like much of Altameda’s stunning new album, Born Losers, the line is at once simple and profound, a visceral snapshot of a moment in time that speaks to something far deeper about the human condition. Recorded with acclaimed producer Thomas D’Arcy (Neko Case, The Sheepdogs) and mixed by studio wiz Tucker Martine (My Morning Jacket, Whitney, REM), Born Losers is a meditation on change, loss, and growth, but more than that, it’s a reckoning with mortality, a call to live while we’re still alive. The band recorded the album after moving from Edmonton to Toronto, and Snaterse wrote much of the lyrics during a tumultuous stretch in which he nearly lost his father to a stroke, only to lose his 18-year-old stepbrother just weeks later in a tragic accident. The resulting emotional upheaval permeates the music in ways both painful and transcendent, with raw, candid performances often arriving wrapped inside gorgeous, gently atmospheric arrangements. Where past Altameda records showcased the sound of a rock and roll band cutting loose live in the studio, Born Losers is an exercise in craftsmanship and restraint, one that relies on subtlety over brute force as it learns to let go and fully embrace the present.