The title of Kal Marks' latest long-player, Life Is Alright, Everybody Dies, comes across like a bit of a downer until you compare it with its predecessor: Life Is Murder.

The title of Kal Marks' latest long-player, Life Is Alright, Everybody Dies, comes across like a bit of a downer until you compare it with its predecessor: Life Is Murder.

In the past, singer and guitarist Carl Shane has packed the Boston band's songs with pessimism and self-hatred, espousing a life philosophy even Eeyore would describe as "kind of a bummer." Recently, however, Shane had made more of an effort to relate with the world at-large, describing the group's latest as a "humanist" album that seeks to find a greater connection with its surroundings.

"I think for the most part all human beings have the desire to connect with other people. You look for a husband or a wife, or some kind of partner, or at least someone to have a conversation with," said Shane, who joins his bandmates for a show at Tree Bar on Sunday, March 27. "I like talking to people that are nothing like me. I like that empathy you can build [when you] try to understand things outside your world. I'm really as generic as can be - I'm a straight, white man - so it's important to try and understand people of other ethnicities and other sexual orientations and other genders instead of being inside your own mind or just being a negative prick all the time, which I've been. I felt it was time to change."

The singer said the change was sparked in large part by a severe depression that followed the 2013 release of Life Is Murder and left him bed-ridden for three days. "I got up to pee, but other than that, I was in bed," he said. "It finally reached a point where it was like, 'Anything would feel better than this.'"

Shane eventually wrested himself from this "mental prison," as he described it, though he credits friends and family for being there throughout - especially his father, who opened up about his own dealings with depression.

"We normally don't have those close talks. We love each other, but we're not always going, 'Hey, how are you feeling today?' And he told me about all the dark times he had," Shane said. "If you have a friend who is in a bad place, just talking to them and trying to understand their world, that's a heroic thing to do. Sometimes we're so busy we can't bother with helping other people, but if you can take a little bit of time to talk to somebody that seems to be in a bad place, it might not be the catalyst to get them out of the rut, but when they do, they will cherish you. I cherish that my dad talked to me in that brutal, honest way."

Shane has always embraced music as a means of release - "Writing songs gives me that opportunity to vent any anger or aggression," he said - but emerging from the worst of his depression the frontman opted to direct his ire at the outside world rather than returning to the usual self-flagellation. The Just a Lonely Fart EP, from 2014, opened with "Zimmerman," a seething garage-punk screed informed by a string of murders of unarmed young black men, including Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by George Zimmerman in February 2012. Life Is Alright, in turn, hinges on "Mankind," a churning, feedback-heavy guitar tantrum that hits like a musical exorcism. "It's nice to be important," Shane yowls, sounding like a man barely holding on to those loose, final scraps of sanity. "But it's more important to be nice!"

"'Mankind,' it's a very aggressive song, but it's me saying, 'God, I wish we weren't starting wars, and I wish our whole economic situation and campaign systems weren't as fucked up,'" Shane said. "People get away with rape all the time. I'm super fearful of the ozone layer just vanishing; the air just seems to get more toxic every day and no one gives a fuck. I think that was a big part of writing the song. I was picturing myself as a motherly figure with children and being like, 'God, I hope it's not raining acid when my kids go outside. I hope nobody harasses them for who they are.'

"Kal Marks is a humanist band. We're about humanity, and all we want to promote is being decent to other people. That's all. The world would just benefit from people not acting out in bigotry and violence. That's what I think about all the time. I think the world can be a better place."

Though Shane is in a better mental space these days, he understands his dealings with depression will be a lifelong concern, and he's maintained a healthy bit of pessimism because "people who are really, really optimistic sometimes, no offense, can be the most naïve people."

At the same time, the musician accepts he needs to make efforts to engage, so as not to backslide, a fighter's attitude that surfaces most cleanly on the title track off the band's latest. "I just wanna make it out alive," Shane howls, his voice shaking free of the surrounding chaos.

"I wrote that song for a specific girl in my life. The moment I met her … I totally fell in love. But I was the shittiest version of myself at the time. I was such garbage, and I was always expressing pessimism over anything else, and that kind of pushed her away," Shane said. "I probably didn't have a chance, but I made it worse by being so grim. So I wrote that song for her to be like, 'Thank you. And I hope you know I'm trying now.' I think that's what I was really trying to say in that song: I'm OK."