Restless on their Laurels: Rock band Bisbee The Exbats hit the used vinyl section | Musical function
It is a healthy diet of daddy rocks for this father-daughter band from Bisbee, but neither of them complains. The group announces their new album, Now where were we, is the biggest musical leap they’ve made, with influences like the Beach Boys, Mamas & the Papas, and the Partridge Family, but it’s still energetic, rebellious and very well The Exbats.
The sound of the new album is in part the result of being trapped at home during the pandemic and listening to a lot of music from the 60s. The earlier music of the Exbats is more akin to punk, with some aggressiveness and distortion. pure and simple. Corn Now where were we opens with an acoustic guitar and features airy and uplifting songs throughout.
“I love our first records, but we’ve changed. We used to be more interested in sounding like the Velvet Underground, and now we’ve come back before that, ”said guitarist and vocalist Kenny McClain. “We are now more oriented towards harmonies. Before, we sang in unison, but we did not analyze it to have a harmonic song.
Kenny estimates that the album was recorded about 30 Saturdays at Midtown Island Studio in Tucson. Kenny and his daughter Inez (who sings vocals and plays drums in the band) would lead Bisbee’s 90 minutes in Tucson, listening to their own music as well as a mix of ’60s classics. Inez now admits that she is. a little obsessed with Beach Boy mastermind Brian Wilson.
“The song ‘Hey New Zealand’ is completely a response to the sound of Laurel Canyon, California in the 1960s,” said Inez. “Which is ironic because the song is about wanting to move to New Zealand.”
The mix of styles is clear: the songs feature intertwined vocal lines, a brighter sound, and a subtly psychedelic palette. However, they still include a healthy dose of attitude and decry modern woes: the changing music industry, climate change, self-doubt. Still, these all come with a playful delivery. On “Hey New Zealand”, Inez downright sings “I don’t feel like I’m dreaming in California”.
“As much as we have these influences and we love to talk about our favorite bands, when we start doing our stuff it ends up being us,” Kenny said. “They influence us, but we never try to copy anyone. ”
Another big change for the group: for the first time, they are no longer just a father-daughter duo. Longtime Exbats producer Matt Rendon joined the band as additional guitarist and Bobby Carlson joined bass.
In addition to more staff, the album features more diverse instrumentals than their previous projects thanks to Kenny’s frequent piano during COVID downtime. Not only the piano, but also the harpsichord and synthesizers appear on the album.
“Writing on the piano gives you a lot more opportunities to work with minor chords and different chord progressions,” Kenny said. “So having more time at home meant there was more time to play the piano, and now there are different twists in our music that had never been seen before.”
However, the new instrumentals and sounds were not initially accepted by Inez. This caused a bit of friction reminiscent of the head butt in classic rock bands.
“When I started writing this album I was pissed off at daddy – I was probably just pissed off in general – and I couldn’t stand him writing everything on the piano,” Inez said. “It was a pretty difficult change, and I didn’t understand where he was coming from with it. It was as if he was trying to be Elton John with the piano. But a little later, after I got into the Beach Boys, I realized he wasn’t doing Elton John, he was doing Brian Wilson, and if anything, I didn’t want to be his Mike Love, then I had to apologize.
The more diverse influences and the sound palette make Now where were we The most ambitious Exbats record to date. (Although that’s not always the case, as Kenny says they’re already working on a new album.) Thanks to the production of Rendon and the artistic growth of The Exbats – Inez is not 10 years old anymore like when the group was created for the first time –Now where were we is the most enjoyable and complete record of the group.
“We do our best to have an analog style, but keep it for our modern lives. This is the point of view from which we start, ”said Kenny. “Even if we listen to the Beach Boys, we wouldn’t write a surf song.”
Full of “coming of age / smartass stories”, the album ends with a humorous ballad about the flight to church, aptly titled “I don’t trust myself around Jesus”. The cheeky mix of country rock and gospel proves the band are still as subversive as their punk roots, and haven’t lost their way completely to a more conservative musical style.
“The album is a bit more contemporary,” Kenny said. “And by contemporary, I mean 1965.”
Now where were we, rreleased on October 22 via Goner Records