In March of 2020, Scoville Unit was riding an unusual high. The ‘90s-inspired guitar-pop quartet led by longtime friends and ex-college roommates Drew Isleib and Gandhar Savur had just released their third, self-titled album and received some unexpected accolades. Of course, the album cycle was cut short for obvious reasons, resulting in the cancellation of the remaining shows supporting the release. Unable to rehearse or perform, Isleib, a doctor, braved the storm, donning a white coat and an N95. Savur, on the other hand, fulfilled a lifelong dream and moved to Costa Rica, where for the next year-and-a-half he admittedly spent the bulk of his existence “surfing and eating rice and beans.”
He didn’t leave the U.S. empty-handed, though. Prior to his departure, the band got together for the first time since the start of the pandemic and managed to very quickly record the basic tracks for a new album. The whirlwind session, with Isleib manning the boards, captured ten newly-written tracks played together for the first time as a band during these sessions. “I honestly wasn’t sure what we’d end up with when we started recording, but when we heard what played back out of the monitors, we knew we were onto something,” says Isleib. The songs themselves deal with topics from that lost year, with a few giving descriptive insight into Savur's decision-making process and desire to leave the country. Once the recording session had ended, he took off.
Savur’s lyrical musings on his decision to move to Costa Rica resonate with anybody who has ever decided to leave the grind of a big city to go to the idyllic landscapes of the suburbs, upstate, or out to the country. “In the Shade” details the dichotomy between city life and the bliss that he longs to experience in the alternate reality that he refers to only as “over there.” The uplifting, punk-inspired manifesto “Pure Energy” lays out his well-thought “new blueprint for our lives.” “You’re Right” is a reflection on the transition, and the consequential separation from the band, reassuring himself matter-of-factly, “now our home feels light years away, but I can fly into Philly, PA.” Costa Rica itself is never specifically mentioned, resulting in lyrical themes that are both personal and relatable.
For Savur, the move to a foreign country eliminated a lot of distractions and provided an opportunity to really focus on the album, and life. Although he was tempted to make his move to Costa Rica a permanent one and struggled with the dilemma during his entire stay, the album itself was largely influential in his final decision. “The day we got the final master back and I heard the finished album, that was the day I decided it was time to move back home,” he summarizes. And it is with this return home that the title of this new album takes on an even deeper meaning for both the band and the future of each member.