After Abbey Road 

Dorsey releases new album Friday

What: Dorsey CD release show with CABIN and Mason Proper
Where: Irving Theater
When: Friday, May 18, 8 p.m., $10, all-ages
Web site:

The members of Dorsey are sprawled around a vacant office. One lonely speaker is propped in a corner, blasting their new album, Borrowed Pens. They are strategizing how best to replicate the dense orchestral compositions they’ve crafted for their May 18 CD release show at the Irving Theater.

“I’m gonna have to transcribe that,” says Jon Schwier as his guitar weaves across one song.

Trumpet player Erich Chrobot shakes his head. “I’ll never be able to reproduce that.”

“I was just hitting stuff,” admits drummer Dan Dyar.

“Well, hit stuff just like that at the release show,” guitarist and vocalist Rob Glass demands, a smile crossing his face.

It’s been a long journey to bring the epic Borrowed Pens to life. Work began on Jan. 1, 2006, and recently came to an end at the legendary Abbey Road studio, former home of the Beatles. Midway through recording the album, Dorsey realized they had something special. “We wanted to make a complete album, not just a collection of songs,” Glass says. They decided to see how far they could take it. Dyar contacted his friend Glenn Kotche, drummer with the indie superstar band Wilco, for suggestions.

“I asked, ‘We’ve got an album and want this thing to sound great. Where’s the best place to send it?’ He gave me two companies, Abbey Road and Colossal Mastering in Chicago. Colossal never got back to us. Abbey Road did,” he says. “So that kind of narrowed it down. We went to Abbey Road.”

Once inside the London studio, Glass and Dyar found themselves mastering the album with Steve Rooke. Rooke, who has worked with legends like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, David Bowie and contemporary stars like Wilco and Franz Ferdinand, was impressed with what he heard. “He said, ‘You guys have a good product. So many people see the Abbey Road name and come in with crap they expect me to make sound great. I can’t do that. You guys came here with something that already sounds good, so we’ll tweak it a little and hopefully we’ll have a fantastic album,’” Glass says.

With the album finished, Dorsey intends to play it from beginning to end at the release show with a small orchestra backing them. “We used lots of instruments such as strings, percussion — timpani, chimes, bells, vibraphones — extra horns and even a female classical soprano,” Glass says.

He is happy with the band’s efforts and feels they succeeded in crafting a full album, not just a collection of random songs. “We worked with Rooke quite a bit to make it flow and get the sound we wanted,” he says. “I feel like that’s not done enough anymore. It’s one reason I love Wilco, because they do that. You listen to their albums from start to finish, and it’s a full album. And I think we did it.”

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