The Autumn Isles launch their second album, A Bird Called Cognition, this Saturday, August 30, at The Bakery with help from The High Learys, Gunns, Thee Gold Blooms and Jeff’s Dead. BOB GORDON reports.
When The Autumn Isles released the first single, Harvest In The Night, from their new album, A Bird Called Cognition, back in July, singer/guitarist, Alex Arpino, commented on how the new LP finds the band stepping into new territory and therefore experimenting more.
So how did you reach these new depths?
“I believe it was a combination of things,” Arpino says now. “For one, feeling more comfortable and confident as a songwriter, being more aware, emotionally, and having a willingness to express that. I also think it comes down to experience as a band, looking at what we have done before and wanting to explore other things, different tones and textures, and having the means to do it. I also think we have found more cohesion as a group which has been really rewarding.”
Rather than a conscious push forward to up the ante with the band’s songs, Arpino notes that it is more as a result of sheer creative momentum.
“We never really had any big conversations about trying to push beyond in a ‘goal setting’ kind of way,” he says. “We just let the songs shine through and took them to where we felt they belonged. I’m lucky to be able to work with a great group of musicians, everyone takes their role in the band seriously and will work really hard to give the best they can regardless.”
It’s been an introspective time in Arpino’s life generally, following the loss of his father. He found a catharsis in the songs on the new LP and something of a new creative freedom.
“It has allowed me to find a more natural place in terms of songwriting, there was a time I felt like I was ‘doing’ rather than ‘being’ when it came to writing music. I feel that has changed while working on this album.”
Now that the album has been delivered the challenge of delivering it onstage presents itself, finding the Autumn Isles more than up to the task.
“We have nine musicians in total on stage for the album launch, and are performing the album in its entirety,” Arpino says. “The focus has been to try recreate the album as close as we can. There hasn’t been much variation outside of that. Apart from Hurricanes, which has this great apocalyptic noise jam that builds at the end of the track, we recorded it live in a few takes, no overdubs. This has allowed us to really improvise each time we play it live, which has been fun.
“Our hope is that people take the time to listen to the album, get to know it and hopefully appreciate the work that has gone into it. If there is something in the record that resonates with, or inspires someone then our work is done.”