Published Sep 24, 2010Even though the Measure (SA) might not literally observe the "Strictly Analog" acronym anymore, the heady, classic pop punk sound on Notes aligns them closer with an honest ideal than a loyalty to an antiquated recording format ever could. Only the band's second official full-length, following a series of EPs and singles, the New Brunswick, NJ outfit have hit their stride on Notes, turning a period of personal strife into an equally dark and heartening eruption reminiscent of raucous Gainesville, FL energy and Thermals accessibility. Singer/guitarist Lauren Measure sounds more impassioned than ever, coming straight from the gut on searing opener "Be Yours" and going straight for it on the sweetly enrapturing "Cynical At Best," its Jawbreaker riffs playing the perfect rattling counter to the understated emotion, something Notes manages continuously with an unassuming deftness. With just enough of their indie-/folk-laced past to buoy the effortlessly catchy choruses of "Unwritten" or "Checklist," yet with a fire lit underneath, Notes stands out not only as the best the Measure (SA) have offered yet, but as one of the liveliest records you'll hear this year as well.
I noticed that there's a more aggressive sound, musically, to this album than any of your previous material. Yet at the same time, there's a cathartic type of lyrical undertone. Would you say the personal purging informed the music or is that more a product of playing live a great deal?
Measure: It's a product of it being cathartic, but also of [guitarist/vocalist] Fid and I playing music together for a bit longer. We each have different influences, but together we've ended up making a more aggressive record because that's how we work best together. We write songs with certain parts in mind for each other and I know that he's great at playing the faster punk stuff, whereas I wouldn't necessarily be able to hold that down on my own. I don't think it's necessarily a product of playing live a ton so much as that's what we've realized is more fun to play live with each other.
Any change-ups in the way you recorded?
Not really, no. We've always recorded reel-to-reel with either Chris Pierce or Buckets, which is how it worked out this time as well.
Again, much of this record sounds dark and personal, but at the same time, the music is so uplifting and positive. Was that intentional or is writing and playing more of a feeling-it-out, subconscious process?
That's part of why we're so proud of this record; we like writing pretty personal and sometimes darker songs, but don't want to be negative and hopeless with it. So, to be able to write songs that are about more serious or personal topics and not have them be total downers is a great feeling. There's still hope there, where I'm coming from, anyway.
Did you find writing out of a difficult period in your life more challengin or easier?
It's way easier; it's why I write songs in the first place: to work through things. We joke that certain things going poorly in my life generated some pretty great songs, so I can look on the bright side that way. I think there's only one song on the record that I wrote out of being really happy, if that tells you anything. (No Idea)