The Albertans’ latest album, Dangerous Anything, is a bit like the Twin Peaks soundtrack… if you could dance to it… It’s sparse and dreamy, but in a largely haunting and ominous way. The album, the band’s third, is their most ambitious and least concise yet. I have trouble considering these sounds to be “pop,” of any sort, instead a slightly avant-garde amalgam of Post-Punk, the darkest kind of New Wave, and the least hopeful brand of Dream Pop… It’s quite a heavy record… Dangerous Anything is out September 10th on Ernest Jenning Record Co. The Vancouver-based outfit is currently touring the US, with dates through the beginning of October, however guitarist/vocalist Joel Bravo recently took some time to chat with me about the band’s latest, their current process of working together, and just what’s behind this ineffably gloomy album which, somehow, manages a bizarre kind of quirk.
Izzy Cihak: You’re about to release your third album, Dangerous Anything, which seems like a bit of an evolution in your sound. How would you characterize the album, it’s sound and writing and recording process, to previous releases?
Joel Bravo: Everything on Dangerous Anything was written in the room together. I stopped coming in with songs written about two years ago, and since then the band grew into something new. All four voices entered into a conversation. It wasn’t conceptual. People found their tones and then we just attempted to interact. We had three weeks in the studio, also, with Josh (Otic Sound) to continue communicating. Many of the songs changed or emerged from this time as well.
IC: I’m curious what it was that inspired the album’s title.
JB: There’s an animated show and children’s book called Funnybones. I was thinking about this when producing the record. The book/show catalogues the adventures of two skeletons and their skeleton dog. Tonally, it’s gentle and corny and soothing, however, the entire series only happens at night. It’s unexpected how goofy something can be with blacked out skies. In ‘Funnybones’ the characters are named appropriately: Pretty-Bird Funnybone, Parrot Bones-Funnybone, Hippopotamus Funnybone, etc. But one character, the gorilla, is named ‘Dangerous Anything.’
IC: Do you have a particular favorite album track, or one that best signifies your musical mindset at the moment? I’m a big fan of “Waterbeds.”
JB: We all like different tracks. Ian likes “L-friend,” Curtis likes “Casual Encounters.” I like them all, but “L-friend” is high up there. My favorite moment on DA is about four minutes into “Waterbeds,” when we almost find something unified. The song, itself, is definitely the stomach of the album. It’s five minutes of an attempt at communication.
IC: What would you currently consider to be your biggest influences?
JB: Current trending music is beautiful, accessible, and always influential. For hits from the past I, personally, have been into Enya, Blood Sweat & Tears, the songs “Stop Dragging my Heart Around” and “Big Love,” Lower Dens and Arp. I can’t speak for the others.
IC: You’re currently on the road. What can fans and potential fans expect of the live experience?
JB: We usually don’t restrain ourselves live. Expect songs from DA but with a bit more gusto.
IC: And what about post-tour plans? Do you have any idea what’s next for The Albertans?
JB: We want to tour more. So, hopefully.