Listen: Locals the Submarines tackle Jesus & Mary Chain [Audio]
Husband-and-wife musical tandem the Submarines add a little scruff to their glossy and refined electro-pop on third album "Love Notes/Letter Bombs," due out April 5. To be sure, the band's technological sheen and handclap beats are still in place, but an injection of live drumming and studio experimentation provides more room for the expectedly sweet melodies to breathe.
"One of the good and bad things about having a home studio is you can just tinker," said keyboardist and vocalist Blake Hazard. "There are a lot of layers, but we tried to strip away whatever felt unnecessary. It’s layered, but we were going for something a little more minimalist. I’m not quite sure if we ended up in the middle."
Husband-guitarist-studio wiz John Dragonetti interjected: "I don’t think we did, really, but, personally, we wanted to push ourselves in the area of production."
"Love Notes/Letter Bombs" presents a fuller, more assured Submarines sound. New songs, such as "Shoelaces" and "Tigers," flash a more aggressive guitar in parts, but effects and flourishes come in and out, as the act uses the studio as something of a shading tool. Additionally, a newfound kick comes in part from the use of Spoon drummer Jim Eno, who supplied rhythmic help on a number of tracks.
"It felt like there was a fresh energy from the outside on this record, compared to the other record, which is very much just us in a room," Hazard said. "Well, this is still mostly just us in a room."
Get a glimpse of the leaner, tougher Submarines sound after the jump, as one of the non-album extra tracks for "Love Notes/Letter Bombs" is a cover of Jesus & the Mary Chain staple "Just Like Honey." The song will come with the iTunes edition of the act's latest Nettwerk release and was initially suggested to Dragonetti by a friend, who asked the band to cover the song for a film.
That film never happened, but the early-'80s studio-distorted and new-wave sound is one the Submarines hold close. The act also cut a cover of New Order's "Your Silent Face," which still sits in the can.
"It unfolds rather slowly," Hazard said of the New Order cut. "That’s so different from how I write. I’m always like, ‘We must hear everything right away, like, immediately.’ I can’t live without a recognizable melody for more than 20 seconds."
Listen to the Submarines take on "Just Like Honey" below:
The Submarines have two local dates on the horizon, with a gig at Costa Mesa's Detroit Bar on April 7 and a May 7 appearance at the Troubadour. Pepper Rabbit will provide support for the latter.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Autumn de Wilde / Nettwerk