The band's latest effort, Happy Dogs, contains an air of yesteryear; tracks such as "Cry in a Vacuum," "Prime Time" and "World's Light" recall Phil Spector's 1960s-era productions. With any luck, Sarah Lucey's guitar-hero pyrotechnics, Brian Kauffman's Bill Bruford-esque flourishes and Suzi Allegra's brilliantly melodic bass lines will project the band beyond Denver's indie-rock underground. We recently sat down with the three and asked them to weigh in on the new album.
Westword: How would you say this album is different from your previous releases in terms of songwriting?
Sarah Lucey: These songs are more cohesive. Whereas some of the songs on Hot on TV didn't work as well live, these songs all feel like they have good live energy. It seems that some of the songs from Hot on TV we had started, or conceptualized, when [guitarist] Billy Kermisch was around, so maybe there was some of that left. Now we feel more confident as a three-piece.
Suzi Allegra: I don't think of the songs so much as one song being more of Sarah's song or my song, but rather our songs.
What inspired the song "Motorcycles"?
SL: Specifically, it was a memory of something I overheard someone saying in a line in Kmart when I was five. I had a toy motorcycle that my mom was buying me, and some little boy my same age was totally weirded out by the fact that a girl would be riding a motorcycle. It's one of those funny things that seems insignificant but, for whatever reason, twenty years later, you're still thinking about what that taught you as a five-year-old -- to hear that and what that means.
Brian Kauffman: It's a juxtaposition of a happy childhood memory with some subversive cultural constraint put on you as a child.
Who came up with the idea for the album art?
SA: We wanted it to be something with happy dogs, and we decided that we would do something simple but fun. And Sarah draws these amazing little dogs.
SL: My friends and I used to draw pictures of our dogs for each other on cards and goofy stuff like that. I always really liked them. So one night we just drew a bunch of them, and Brian scanned them and put in the minimal landscape behind. They actually turned out pretty cool, because the three dogs were different, and they looked like they had different moods and attitudes. We like to try to figure out which one is who -- matching each dog to a particular bandmember.
Without trying to get all heavy or something, I feel like the artwork illustrates my confidence in the music. It was so easy. It's so basic, and it's not an artistic masterpiece, but I felt like that was okay, because the new CD really rocks.