Arts Desk

One Track Mind: Passing Phases

Standout Track: No. 4, the seriously catchy power-pop tune "Never Give In" shows Passing Phases at its jangly, distorted best. Somehow, the two-minute track maintains an outlook that's both bright and bleak. A surfy guitar solo caps things off before singer-guitarist Mike Benish delivers the tune's final chorus: "I try so hard to live/ but it gets so hard to even give a shit/ Every turn is a memory with no use for it."

Musical Motivation: Friendly competition. In Benish and guitarist Mike Taylor's old band, Teens in Trouble, Benish pushed himself to write "a really straightforward rock 'n' roll song with a good hook ... to match the great one that [Taylor] wrote." Benish wrote Endless Autumn with Taylor, bassist Jon Hand, and drummer Ian Widman.

Suburban Wasteland: "Never Give In" muses existentially about "living in the past because it's already built." That comes from Benish's childhood growing up in Sterling, Va. "I've grown up in the same place my whole life, and everywhere you go you have a memory," he says. "You've lived so much of your life in one place you almost feel like you're getting trapped or getting weighed down by all those memories." But he doesn't feel completely helpless. "Just because you're in the same place your whole life doesn't mean you can't keep growing or becoming a better person," he says.

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