The power-pop flavour of the first two albums gave way to a darker, more introspective set of tracks that tip the hat to the shoegaze sound of the early 90’s, while stripping back the arrangements to a leaner, tougher, more direct sound. In early 2011, the band bunkered down in Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, an abandoned psychiatric hospital near Dunedin, New Zealand, with producer Dale Cotton to record their upcoming album ‘Constellations’. As singer Phil Usher describes, “We had a few strange experiences while we were there—hearing voices during takes, strange sounds, and we also saw a microphone stand move like someone knocked it.” That strangeness, and the unease of not quite knowing where you are, informs the sounds on the record. The new album is sheer psychedelic sophistication, its beating heart urgent and undeniable. Yet the band is content to let the music build and peak, unhurriedly and with tangible conviction.
Intimate and inscrutable, these songs bend and fold, stretch out and explode. Guitar-pop mutates into a lush psycho-geographical map where the band’s headspace mimics the manic contours of the equally beautiful and punishing New Zealand countryside where the album was recorded. In March 2010, Grand Atlantic barnstormed across the US and Canada after invitations to showcase at SXSW and Canadian Music Week, following extensive touring of the album in Australia and a growing call from the US powerpop scene. The release of ‘How We Survive’ in the US prompted radio play on over 50 radio stations, a glut of media attention and placed them on a bunch of SXSW ‘bands to watch’ short lists. Back home, Scene Magazine characterized them best: “How We Survive is classic guitar pop that leans heavily on Brian Wilson, Ray Davies and The Beatles while asserting a sonic identity rooted heavily in 90s Brisbane rock...How We Survive is the best chance yet for this Brisbane band to take on the world.” Even the massive exposure of their “Gossip Girl” track hasn’t changed their focus or approach to music. “We’re really proud of what we’ve done on record to date, but we also wanted to keep evolving and growing as a band.
The first two were done over a long period of between one and two years. This new album was recorded in 12 days and that created an intense and focused process,” says Usher. “We’ve really let down our hair, experimented and let things be a lot more raw than we ever have before. It’s been a frightening, exhilarating and wild ride!” March 2011 saw Grand Atlantic return to the US for a repeat tour of both the East and West coasts, as well as SXSW again.
Live, they’re passionate and intense, a high-energy rock tour-de-force. The first official single from ‘Constellations’ is ‘Fresh ideas In Home Security, which can be found at http://freshideas.viinyl.com/ - and the band is about to announce Australian dates. ‘Constellations’ is due for release 2nd September 2011. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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