By Brad Lopez
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Inkoo Kang
By Dave Herrerra
By Josiah M. Hesse
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The combo was never at a loss for material, since Presley and Barbato both write and sing their own material. They differ stylistically to some degree — Barbato feels that Presley's numbers are "a little bit dreamier" than his more classically structured pieces. But the tunesmiths' distinctiveness "gives the music a little flavor, throws in a couple of curveballs," he says. The addition of Canzoneri had the same effect, filling out the sound on 2 in a way that lifts it above the group's previous releases — a couple of EPs for Tarantulas Records in 2004 and 2005, and a self-titled full-length debut issued by the Dangerbird imprint in 2006.
"The first record's a little more smeared sonically than this record; there's a little more clarity on the new record," Barbato maintains. "Andy is a really awesome, hard-hitting drummer. I think that — coupled with the two guitars and now adding Will on the organ and clavinet — has made a big difference; it's become a really big thing. It does take time to figure that out, but we've never been a thin-sounding band. It's always been really thick and lush."
The band's growing confidence extends to live performances, where the players use the songs more as leaping-off points than blueprints that must be followed precisely. The stage run-throughs of "All the Hurry & Wait" tend to be so unlike the original that Barbato says some people may not even recognize it. "Different songs translate differently in live situations," he notes, "so you do what you can to make them as much fun to play as possible."
If that sounds like the sort of tack a psychedelic band might take, fine — but "we're not trying to do any kind of a throwback," Barbato emphasizes. "We're not trying to jump on any scene or anything, you know? If we were trying to do that, we're, like, a decade late."
In truth, they're right on time.