Maturity can be a hard thing for any band to achieve, let alone one known for originally known for fuzzy power punk. Yet, despite the youth of its members, The Pharmacy have become quite the seasoned musical force over the last few years, culminating in one of their most evolved albums to date Stoned & Alone.
"We've slowly realized that something can be more compelling when you draw it out," says singer/guitarist Scottie Yoder. "We thrashed through our first record as quickly as we could. But I've always wanted to be at a point where we're able to try new things but didn't have the right tools or inspiration to do."
The band (Yoder, drummer Brendhan Bowers, and keyboardist Stefan Rubicz) was definitely provided with the means to do the job this time around, working once again with Brandon Eggleston (The Mountain Goats, tUnE-yArDs). The seasoned producer/engineer provided the firm, yet flexible hand that The Pharmacy needed to add some impressive touches to Stoned - the string section that underpins the rattling rocker "Your Eyes"; backing vocals that provide a vintage soul touch to album opener "At The Top of the Ivory Stairs".
As far as inspiration, the band had plenty to work from, thanks to spending the better part of a year living together in New Orleans, Louisiana. Not only because they were surrounded by some of the deepest roots of American music, but also "the fact that none of us really had jobs," says Yoder. "We were winging it with money we had saved up and whatever weird odd jobs we could get." Banding together, the trio was able to soak up a lot of new music, and practice their hearts out on new songs.
Now, back in their hometown of Seattle, The Pharmacy are bringing all that experience to bear on Stoned & Alone, a punchy, diverse pop record that swells with emotion, humor and a joyful spirit. Even a song like "Dig Your Grave" (a track that was released in February of this year on a 7" single by Kind Turkey Records), which Yoder says is about a friend that took his own life zips by giddily with a cheeky organ line and a fist-pumping chorus. "Lyrically it's kind of a downer," he says, "but it's also one of those songs I wanted to leave open-ended so you could see it from your perspective if you were in a similar situation."
The variety of sounds and ideas on the record is aided by the fact that the band and Eggleston recorded it in a few places, including Soundhouse, the Seattle-based studio managed by legendary producer Jack Endino (Yoder says he was able to knock out a couple of songs with the same amp Kurt Cobain used for Bleach). They wrapped up the sessions at Eggleston's home studio in Portland, and recorded some piano parts at a Methodist church located on Vashon Island. "We were exploring the place a bit and found a little half-smoked joint behind the pulpit," remembers Yoder.
Don't take the title of this album as gospel. Stoned & Alone is meant to be shared with as many ears as possible, sober or otherwise. Crank it up at your next dance party and watch the sparks fly. Or drop it on your turntable when you're sitting solo and high and soak it up. No matter how you ingest this, The Pharmacy will provide the perfect soundtrack.
Stoned & Alone is out November 20th, 2012 on Old Flame Records.
released November 20, 2012
(c) 2012 Spirit Aminals (SESAC)
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