A Lot Like Birds
Emotional. Chaotic. Haunting. Intense...Now entering the grim anti-fairytale of No Place, the latest full- length album from Sacramento's A Lot Like Birds.
The dynamic ten track album takes listeners on an eerie roller coaster of beautiful chaos, with arching cinematic interludes laced between destructive gut-wrenching, chill-inducing masterpieces. The complex construction of No Place sets one into a mesmerizing world of darkness and dread led by urgency, intensity and fear.
No Place was released via Equal Vision Records on October 29 and produced by Kris Crummett [Closure In Moscow, Fear Before] - who also recorded the band's 2011 release, Conversation Piece.
"I have always been prone to gravitate towards the more grandiose side of composing, to a nearly unachievable extent when time limits are involved, since day one of this band. From experimenting with a wide array of instruments (strings, horns, auxiliary percussion), to incorporating various programming (beats, synths, MIDI instruments), to a lot of effects and effect modulation, completing the vision on this album required a lot of hard work and patience. Kris [Crummett] embodied both of those skills, along with incredible diligence, and honestly to a point of near disbelief from the rest of us," reveals guitarist Michael Franzino. "He genuinely cared about this, and without him this record quite literally would not have happened."
No Place showcases A Lot Like Birds' idiosyncrasies through dark, intricate soundscapes that range from crazy and chaotic to beautiful and melodic.
"We lost our skulls into the nether realms creating this piece of work," adds drummer Joe Arrington. "Hours and hours in darkly lit studios throwing my drum sticks against a wall and forgetting what time of day it was. People can expect something a lot darker and more serious this time around. It was worth it."
Thematically the album revolves around a single concept, exploring the emotions behind rooms in a home. Guitarist Ben Wiacek elaborates, "The idea was to identify the emotional dichotomy of the "home" experience; the home is a place of serenity and/or a place of chaos. You'll notice this album is much darker but more focused than anything we've done before, and I hope we achieved something that will be considered important and relevant to a lot of people's lives."
"It's no secret that musicians can spend more time on the road than they do at home, but aside from that, a home had been a completely lost concept to me for the past few years," adds co-vocalist Cory Lockwood. "And as I realized that I felt more at home while away from my "hometown" and felt more sheltered with no guarantee of shelter each night, I really started to examine the idea of home. What a home means to a person, and with further exploration, what each particular room can mean. We had already been discussing the direction of our next album and how we might want to try our hand at one particular concept. And so this was the concept I brought to the table: let's build a house. Each song, one room. Important to itself but still a part of the whole."
In regards to the album title, Lockwood explains, "I had been playing around with idioms regarding the idea of home, and while thinking about the phrase '...there's no place like home...' I thought to myself, that in our positions, no place IS home. We make a home of any place that we happen to be in at that time, and then we move on. So the title No Place stuck. "
Known for their wild live performances - which often include anything and everything from swinging from the rafters, spontaneous mid-set crowd surfing, and launching guitars 25 feet in the air, to simply focusing on the music - the six-piece band features duel vocalists, Cory Lockwood and Kurt Travis, who seamlesslyintertwine, layer and harmonize while interchanging singing, screaming and spoken word duties, while guitarists Michael Franzino and Ben Wiacek alternate frantic riffs with ambient wails and bassist Michael "Butter" Littlefield and drummer Joe Arrington deliver driving grooves, uniting the band's sound.
"Written word shaped me more definitively than any other interest in my life. I've been writing creatively my entire life without any real direction, outside of obsessively discovering new stories inside of myself and dragging them out. Music gave me a way to combine story and emotion and poetry with another love - performance," Lockwood shares. "And when [Kurt] Travis and I met...we instantly bonded with each other and started to test each other's role and how best to complement each other musically. It didn't take too long for us to finish each other's lyrics if we were struggling with something or figure out a cohesive call- and-response section or harmony. And best of all, we decided not to separate each other into different corners of the musical ring. He screams at times and I sing at times and vice versa. There's such an amazing amount of room for us to create together, as long as we ignore the standard limitations of a duo like that."
The band's constant musical evolution and entrancing live shows, combined with their down-to-earth personalities, proved to be just the right fit for Equal Vision Records, who signed A Lot Like Birds in 2012. "Signing to Equal Vision used to just be a daydream for most of us," explains Lockwood. "When we were growing up and still playing in previous bands, Equal Vision was putting out CDs by incredible artists that we admire like Bear vs Shark, The Fall of Troy and Circa Survive."
A Lot Like Birds shares a spot on the Equal Vision Roster with the impressive likes of Saves The Day, Fairweather, Matt Pryor (of The Get Up Kids), HRVRD, and many more. No Place is the band's first release on the Upstate NY-based independent label.
"We are all very happy about it...there honestly couldn't be a better home for us and what we want to do," Franzino adds. "It means the world to be on EVR and we can't wait to see what comes of it."