Attack In Black Answer The Question Of Years

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

There will always be ongoing debates among fans about how it came to be that a particular band reached one creative consensus or another that ultimately yielded a significant artistic change in style but, sometimes, it's much more simple than anyone would like to believe and, of that, Attack In Black is living proof. While there were indications on the band's sophomore effort, Marriage, was moving speedily away from the rather standard-issue hardcore that the band played out on their Skate Ahead debut, the gentle acousticism of the band's newest album, Years (By One Thousand Fingertips), still took the fans that they'd rightly earned by complete surprise; while Marriage might have been significantly lighter around the edges than Attack In Black's debut album, Years sounded an awful lot like good, old fashioned coffeehouse-house college folk by comparison.
How'd that happen? According to guitarist Spencer Burton, there was no particular agenda in mind or planned evolution – Years came together more as a lark that inadvertently turned more serious as the sessions for it progressed. “It would be hard to argue that the style of our music has gone in a slightly different direction as time has gone on – everyone in the band is aware of that – but the idea behind this last record was actually really simple,” says Burton when asked about what Years represents for Attack In Black. “I mean, we live in Welland, Ontario [a small Canadian town that once boasted a thriving industrial center which has receded greatly in the last ten years –ed] we've got nothing to do and we're bored so we sit around and write songs and Years was originally a fun idea that we had where we'd put out a pre-record record. The theory was that it was going to be like another Curve Of The Earth-style thing; just something to put out there to keep us from losing our minds in boredom, and then we were going to properly record a whole other batch of songs that we had. So we sat down and started making Years and it actually took us a little bit longer than we wanted it to and we ended up liking it a lot more than we thought we would so we just decided to put it out as our new record and save those other songs for another record, another time. That's pretty much how it all ended up working out.”
As simple as it sounds, there's no arguing with results. On the strength of Years, Attack In Back has been discovered a whole new audience that's far broader-based than the punk rock-by-way-of-indie crowd they were entertaining previously and the kudos reflect it; while the band was already winning awards when 2007's Marriage was released, now they're also winning a whole lot of new respect as songwriters. That broader base of listeners generating the additional attention has come to expect hearing the more acoustically-intentioned material in a live setting, so one has to wonder how they continue to satisfy both those new ears as well as those more seasoned sets that supported the band in its early-going. According to Burton, the secret all lies in the band's ability to be versatile on a nightly basis. “The live shows are a lot different from the record,” states the guitarist plainly. “Even the songs that we do play from Years end up changing in the live show; there are songs that are very slow on the record and really melodramatic but, live, they sometimes come out sounding almost like something you'd expect to hear off of Marriage; they come out a little more aggressive – but not as aggressive as the stuff from the previous album, it's somewhere in the middle.
“Other nights, we'll look at the crowd and gauge that it isn't the type of crowd that wants something hard or we might not feel like we're in that zone so we slow everything down,” continues Burton. “Generally, we have two different ways of playing each of the songs on that record; one a little faster and more aggressive, and the other is closer to what you hear on the album. There's a song on the record called “I Could Turn,” for instance, that's pretty mellow on the album but it's probably one of the hardest songs we play live.

“We've been to a few different places behind Years and it's gone pretty well so far. We get people saying all different things – like we do get the compliments about the treatments of the songs from Years, but people will also ask why we didn't play this song or that song when we did; it just wasn't the same as how they know it from the record.”

After Attack In Black's short tour that began in PEI on October 21 and ends on November 7 in London, Ontario, the plan is to take some time off for the holidays, according to Burton. However, being back in Welland and in their continuing battle against boredom, the guitarist hints that it's entirely likely the band may begin to work on new material again. “It's going to be the first time in a few months that we'll all be in the same place at the same time [singer/guitarist Dan Romano, drummer Ian Romano and bassist Ian Kehoe all currently reside in Montreal –ed] so I'm sure something will happen; maybe we'll write another record,” Burton says. “After the tour, it's going to be the first time in a while that we're going to be together for a significant amount of time so we might use it to write some new songs.”



Attack In Black – “Beasts” – Years (by one thousand fingertips)


Years (By One Thousand Fingertips)
is out now and available as a Canadian import here on Amazon .

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