When it comes to the title of Dave Hause’s upcoming album Kick, it’s not about violence, it’s about survival: kicking against the currents of negativity, anxiety and self-doubt in a world that increasingly feels like it’s teetering on the edge of chaos. “You get to a certain age and you realize that the act of kicking, it doesn’t get you to the shore,” says the Philadelphia-bred 41-year-old. “You have to kick a thousand times to get there.”
That sense of incremental victory informs the expansive, mid-tempo rocker “Saboteurs,” the second song Hause is teasing ahead of the album’s April 12 release date. The track illustrates both the pervasive nature of fear and a determination to fight that fear, and how simply choosing to weather the storm with people you love can be an act of strength.
“Instead of checking out, let’s resolve to try and get inside the building and change it ourselves a little bit– almost like a little drop of dye in the water– and hope that our choices end up changing it within the structure,” says the former frontman for the Philly punk band the Loved Ones, of the concept behind the tune.
“The small acts of sabotage against an inhuman world, an inhuman system, they don’t feel that victorious,” he says. “It sounds great in a song, it sounds triumphant, but what that really means is the sort of daily digging of a long trench to protect your family and your friends from forces that would turn them against humanity.”
“Saboteurs” joins nine other songs on a collection that, as he puts it, is “more high-octane” than some of his previous solo work. The moods range from ruminative (the sepia-infused “Fireflies”) to raucous (the Clash-channeling “OMG”) to the absolutely gutting (“Bearing Down,” sparked in part by the death of his friend and Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison in 2018). Hause incisively melds observations of the world at large– including the currently divisive political climate and environmental calamities– through the lens of his own newly transformed personal world — including the kicking feet of his newborn twins, which inspired the album’s title. “I always prefer to try to figure out what the personal response to the political situation is rather than saying something specifically political,” he says. “I just think other people can do that political thing much better than I can.”
“I’m doing all this against the backdrop of a society where the values that I thought were prevalent seem to be in retreat,” he says of the songwriting process for Kick. “You start to say, ‘Okay, well if this whole society is collapsing, and the water’s coming up, in terms of global warming, why are we doing the things that are traditional?’ Really, it’s an effort to hold onto what is human about us and that’s connection. And for me that’s often just sort of in a traditional [sense] with my marriage, and now with kids. But the connection is with anybody you can find it with. You kick against the current that pulls towards the dark with anybody you can find of like mind that can help you get there.”
Hause kicks off a short US tour March 29 in Los Angeles before heading to Europe. He expects to hit the road in the States again later this year.