The Appleseed Cast is in the midst of an intense tour. “We’re pretty much on the road for eight or nine months,” said Christopher Crisci, the band’s singer and guitar player.
They recently performed at Philadelphia’s First Unitarian Church in a concert drenched in emotion, intensity, and guitars.
Crisci, along with guitarist Arron Pillar, bassist Marc Young and drummer Josh Baruth, are living the road life in support of their sixth album, Two Conversations.
The album is a decidedly straightforward release from a band known for its penchant towards lush, almost ambient noise and instrumentation.
That is not to say that Two Conversations lacks experimentation. From the airy keyboard serenade that opens the album in “Hello Dearest Love,” the rough and tumble “Fight Song,” and the closure-providing “A Dream For Us,” the album explores all facets of relationship politics.
The complex musical backing provides a stern backdrop for the bands decidedly heavy emotional subject matter.
“Everyone writes their own parts,” Crisci said, explaining how the intricate musical interplay between the instruments develops. “I think [writing our own parts] is really important for our band. Every band works differently, but that’s one thing I like about our band.”
On past efforts, such as Marc Vitalis and the two-volume Low Level Owl, The Appleseed Cast developed a very studio-oriented sound, traces of which find its way onto Two Conversations.
This give and take between recorded experiments and recreating the songs live presents some difficulties for the band, not the least of which is reflected in the set list.
“We mix it up live,” Crisci said. With six albums, it would seem that The Appleseed Cast has a great wealth of songs to choose from, but many of those songs are impossible to perform live. “The Low Level Owl albums have so many noise interludes,” Crisci said. “There’s probably only six songs on both of those records that we ever play.”
This exclusion doesn’t bother the band much, though.
“The only thing we’re concerned about live is: ‘When we wrote it as a four piece, did we like it?’ Can we pull it off?” Crisci said in response to how the band deals with transferring the complex studio arrangements to the stage.
The band prides itself in being a great recorded outfit that can prove it on the road. “It really doesn’t matter what we else do to [a song] in the studio,” Crisci said. “It’s still good.”
Live performances keep the band away from home for more than 200 days a year, but Crisci wouldn’t have it any other way. “If you’re in a band, you have to tour. That’s what we do.”
Robert James Algeo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org