The Appleseed Cast resolved to take a break from two years of touring when they landed back in their hometown of Lincoln, Neb. this spring, but the road has called them back. They’ll close a mini-tour of the Midwest at the Emerson Theatre Sunday, taking a break from writing their new album and their day jobs. Guitarist Aaron Pillar, who founded the band in 1997 in San Diego with lead singer and guitarist Christopher Crisci, is ready to give some songs from their upcoming album a try on stage.
“They’re longer songs, with longer instrumental parts, heavier in some parts but a little bit more carefree; we’re just working with whatever feels good and whatever comes out right,” Pillar says. “We also have one song that’s just sort of a throwback to what we were doing eight or nine years ago — just a fast rock song.”
Pillar has been experimenting with new sounds, textures and rhythms; the band Low and guitarist Nels Cline from Wilco have been enduring influences, and Pillar is playing in an open key after years of standard tuning. “Where normally it would be, ‘OK, let’s just play that eight times or four times back-to-back,’ now we’re trying to focus on the dynamics of it even more than we have in the past,” he says. “‘Hey, let’s not get loud here, drop down, explode, then drop it again, and not just build it up.’”
“That’s something we’ve done all the time — the build,” Pillar continues. “But we want to deconstruct that. You can only climb so high on the fretboard. We’re doing some really weird time changes that are subtle so it’s not just, ‘Well, there’s the tricky section.’”
The band expects to get in the studio by the beginning of 2008, but Peregrine, released in spring 2007, hasn’t picked up cobwebs yet. Instrumentals exemplify Pillar’s recent interest in writing imagistic soundtracks to Midwestern life, and singer Crisci’s lyrics, while still delivered with the vocal strain characteristic of emo, blend well with the band’s more sophisticated and complex post-rock.