Sometimes, periods of inactivity and awaiting inspiration are the perfect breeding ground for an artist's best and transcendent material. For the garage-punk energy of Oklahoma's Broncho, their pop-laden fortitude lay dormant in tangible form for three years between the release of their debut LP, Can't Get Past the Lips, and last September's Just Enough Hip to Be Woman, but the songs had been in rotation onstage since their first release.
Then, over the Christmas holiday, guitarist Ryan Lindsey had an epiphany when his grandmother asked how his work had been going. "I hadn't been doing anything in a while," explains Lindsey. "And I said, 'No I haven't even been recording anything or writing. I've just been kind of resting and sleeping and hanging out.' And she said, 'Well that's good. You're collecting.' That made a big impact on me."
Tonight the Norman, Oklahoma band comes to Dallas for a show at City Tavern, which will mark the beginning of their first tour of 2015. A frequent visitor to the city, tonight's performance will actually mark their first date in town since they opened for Sean Lennon's band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, all the way back in May of last year.
"I've had a lot of spare time over the past month. It's been awesome," says Lindsey, in between a series of yawns. "It's like I procrastinated long enough right before we were gonna go on tour, and I just realized I got a ton of shit to do, and so I'm like cramming. That's kind of the way I've always done it; that's why I was a bad student as well."
It's not that Lindsey and his band mates haven't been studious, as a group specializing in feverishly energetic and catchy garage rock music. But between momentous touring and landing various offers on and off the road, their sophomore release may not have been released as quickly as they had hoped. Yet it was in this period where their songs would have a generous amount of time to marinate and blossom into something more closely resembling their vision.
Just Enough Hip to Be Woman picks up where the infectious pop sensibility of their debut left off. With hooks that linger long after the song is over, music of this type lends itself well to an age where social media and streaming music has trimmed our attention spans down to nanoseconds. And Lindsey is well aware of the staying power of his melodies.
"I always feel like I need to apologize," Lindsey admits. "Because things get stuck in my head and then after a while I start going crazy and I can't sleep."
The candy-coated melodies, while seemingly rooted in the present, as with their first record, are presented here alternating between various eras of pop music's past. There are hints of new wave and post-punk gloom, but the fervent garage-like essence remains at the forefront throughout the album.
"I think the first record was definitely focused on one specific era in music, and it wan't necessarily an era that everybody in the band would view as being their sole influence," explains Lindsey. "So I think we sort of naturally, there wasn't really a lot of dialogue about it, but we all knew that one record was its own thing, and then we would push on to something new."
While Broncho is on the verge of embarking on a long list of stops on their upcoming tour, Lindsey is already anticipating the next record. And finding balance between the consistently constant life on the road, and writing and recording a new album, as with Just Hip Enough to Be Woman, has always presented a challenge to Lindsey.
"We were touring a ton, so it was all part of our finding the amount of time. It was like we'd have to stop and pick things back up and get re-acclimated to what we were trying to do on that record," says Lindsey. "So in some ways it was really good for the songs. It gave us a chance to step away and come back with a different perspective."
Lindsey reiterates that not moving at a pace where an artist consistently pushes forward may not be the most favorable place to be, but ultimately it is better to be happier with the quality of the work overall.
"You know, a lot of people say, if you're gonna be an artist, you just gotta keep producing and keep working through stuff, which I think is true," says Lindsey. But, he warns, it's not the only way to make progress: "I think that there's a lot of people that that definitely works for, and there's moments in my life where it really works for me. But I think it also is important to collect."
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