FUTURE CARNIVORES are on a tear. Just more than a year ago the seductive rock collective released their debut album, a self-titled affair lifted by tales of love and destruction and an eclectic sound that was impossible to characterize. It seemed like a one-off project, almost more an idea than a band, the latest from vocalist Bo Barringer who had previously crooned for MEandJOANCOLLINS and the Collisions. He teamed up with Reuben Bettsak of Guillermo Sexo, as well as other players from the music scene, members of Cult 45 and Japanese Monster.
Eventually this former bedroom project and jam-session time-occupier crystallized into something with its own identity, one shaped by Britpop (Barringer has a Jarvis-Cocker-quality in his delivery), Kraut-rock, synthpop, glam and loungy, almost folk-ish vibes that provide a consistent sonic structure to the Carnivores’ hypnotic sound.
Now the band is back, damn near immediately, with a new full-length LP, Come Inside, set for release tomorrow night at T.T. The Bear’s Place in Cambridge on an excellent bill with Velah, the Milling Gowns, and Soft Pyramids. To celebrate, Vanyaland if offering standout stack “Twice” for free download.
>> DOWNLOAD: Future Carnivores “Twice” [mp3]
Come Inside sounds like a band confident in its own skin, allowing growth in the Carnivores scope but still retaining a lot of the back-lit charm of the first record. Each song, with their sentence-like titles, feels like its own passage or chapter in Barringer’s narrative. Vanyaland caught up with the front man to discuss the new record, being prolific at a time where short attention spans are juxtaposed against mass internet consumption, and the art of resisting the urge to explode all over the place.
Michael Marotta: Come Inside is your second full-length LP in just more than a year. What gives? Don’t you know we’re living in the Age of the EP?
Bo Barringer: Ah…I’m always so behind the times. I was on cassettes when the world switched to CDs, CDs when everyone went mp3, mp3 when everyone went back to vinyl. For our next release, I think we’ll skip the whole FLAC/lossless/whatever phase and take a bet that everyone is gonna want their music on VHS tape. How much music can you get on a VHS tape?
MM: Was there any specific approach to writing this record so soon after the last? Was it a matter of having a batch of songs already written and re-approaching those, or all these new compositions created since the release of the self-titled?
BB: Well, actually a good half of these songs have been kicking around since before the put out the first album. They just weren’t ready yet. A few of them (“Drugs,” “She Goes Out Dancing,” “Could Be The Start”) I wrote and recorded for a friend’s fashion show a couple years ago.
We saw a lot of potential in them for Future Carnivores and recorded real drums on top of the drum machines and revised/re-sung/remixed them 100 times since then. Around the same time, Swade, our bassist, challenged me to write and record and album’s worth of material in the month of February. It was perfect because it was a brutal winter and I’d just been dumped and so I had the perfect excuse to never leave the house, haha. “Twice” and “Catch” came from that.
But the album really started to take shape when I brought Reuben over to come up with guitar parts. Regardless of our starting point I can always get him to add something that takes it to a whole other level. Ditto for when we brought the tracks for our drummer, Pepe, to lay live drums. And of course, Noell’s vocals are icing on the cake.
But Reuben and I have been writing and recording at a pretty steady pace for two or three years now and there are some newer ones that have been written since the first album came out (“Blame Time,” “Grey House”).
We’ve got a good start on another album and a half, or, have it your way, Micheal, 3 EPs worth of music, haha! I’ve always had a backlog of material that I can never stay ahead of in terms of performing or recording.
MM: Well, Future Carnivores have been quite prolific.
After MEandJOANCOLLINS (and the Collisions before that) I pretty much made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let the pace of the current band/project/vehicle slow down my output. No more three-year gaps between albums. I’m getting too old for that. Sometimes it takes so long to get a whole band up to speed and ready for the studio. Then you spend time recording/overdubbing, then you mix, and remix, and remix, then you almost send it to mastering and someone quits the band and takes their songs with them — haha!