Roots rock trio Moreland and Arbuckle has just issued its latest album, 7 Cities, which marks a number of firsts for the Wichita-based outfit. It’s the first time the band has recorded an entire project outside its home base, the first record to feature drummer Kendall Newby, and the first time the band has worked with an outside producer.
The band traveled to Seattle earlier this year to work with Matt Bayles, a man whose resume includes records with heavy rock bands such as Botch and Isis. Vocalist and harmonica player Dustin Arbuckle explains that the benefits of this unlikely union were mutual.
“I think it was a great experience on both ends because us never having worked with a producer before and Matt never having worked with a band like us,” says Arbuckle. “He’s spent his career working with bands like Mastodon and The Sword and Minus The Bear, either really heavy rock acts or electronic pop acts.”
Moreland compares the sessions to being on a team with a tough coach who has high expectations.
“There may be times when you dislike him very much," he says. "But, at the end of the season, when you look back and you’ve done well and won the championship or whatever, all of a sudden you love him.”
Another first on the record is the incorporation of shifting time signatures in the song “Broken Sunshine,” which moves between 3/4 and 4/4 time.
Moreland says it’s one of his favorite songs that the group has recorded to date.
"I love the time change, even though it was purely accidental when I was coming up with it," he says. "I love the words, the vocal delivery, I really like the overall hook. I think that up to this point in our career it’s a crowning achievement as far as songwriting and delivery on a record would go.”
Moreland and Arbuckle has always included material from outside writers on its albums and 7 Cities is no exception. The album features songs from longtime friends of the band including Curt Mitchell, Ryan Taylor and Hans Judd.
But one tune stands out, a cover of the 1985 Tears For Fears hit, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”
Just how did the band decided on that song? Aaron Moreland explains:
“Well, we were looking for some sort of a tune to do that would be somewhat of a curve ball, something that we hadn’t really done before and that nobody would expect,” Moreland says. “And for some reason, I’m not really sure, we gravitated toward some sort of an ‘80s pop tune. We tried out a few other ones. And immediately, when we played ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World,’ it was like, 'This totally works. This is great.’”
Moreland and Arbuckle celebrates the release of 7 Cities at the Orpheum Theatre Friday night.
Music: “Tall Boogie,” “The Devil and Me,” “Broken Sunshine” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World.”