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The Sacred Broncos set sail on the Analog Ocean
Debut CD out February 4
By Jim Fester
Fort Wayne Reader
As an appetizer for their debut album Analog Ocean, a member of The Sacred Broncos sends me a song called “Be My Gun,” a slouching slab of psychedelia-tinged garage rock — complete with backwards guitar solo — that has Your Humble hitting “play again” as soon as it’s over.
In a different world and earlier time, “Be My Gun” would have been released on a vinyl 45, and The Sacred Broncos would have eventually found themselves tucked in between The Chocolate Watchband and The Weeds on a Nuggets compilation — and they wouldn’t have sounded out of place there.
And that’s pretty much what the group was aiming for, according to bass player Michael Jenkins. “There is definitely a strong 60's influence on Analog Ocean,” he says, referencing The Animals and 60s-era Rolling Stones. “Everyone in the band has really varied influences, but some of the groups that everyone agrees on are Sonic Youth, Jack White-related projects, MC5, Pavement, Iggy and The Stooges and Grinderman.”
The Sacred Broncos — with Jenkins; his brother Brian on guitar and vocals; Derek Mauger guitar and vocals; and Pete Dio on drums — formed in May of 2010 and hit the road soon after, going on a brief tour of the East Coast. The “trial by fire” resulted in many of the songs on Analog Ocean, which is out on Chain Smoking records February 4.
To capture The Sacred Broncos’ garage-rock sound on Analog Ocean, the group turned to Jason Davis at Off the Cuff studios. “His studio is also mostly vintage equipment, which helped us to get that 60's vibe,” says Jenkins. “We had a great time using the vintage equipment like the tape reel to get the authentic sound effects people are always going for.”
“In ‘Be My Gun,’ Jason flipped the tape over and Derek did a guitar solo backwards,” Jenkins continues. “In ‘Heaven and Hell’ we recorded the vocals to a slightly sped up version of the track. ‘Holy Roller" features an unintentionally distorted 70s Lowry organ that was all whacked out that day.”
“All of these things make the recording process more of a challenge. You've got to work at what you want to sound like. At Off the Cuff, the studio becomes an instrument — that's what we wanted on this record.”
Brian Jenkins and Derek Mauger usually write the songs — sometimes, the tunes are finished and ready to go; other times, the band builds around a simple idea. As we said above, many of the song on Analog Ocean were worked out on the road, but there were a few others that the band basically wrote while in the studio. Michael Jenkins says that the band went into the studio knowing that they wanted Analog Ocean to sound like a “real album,” with a collection of 10 song (and two musical interludes) that worked well together. “In so many of our past projects, it's been taking songs from all over the place and putting them together,” Jenkins explains. “This time we wrote the songs just for this. I think we are most proud that in this album, it all came together — we've got some themes floating around, some 'ocean' sounds, and some pieces that tie it all together.”
The already mentioned 60s feel of Analog Ocean is usually called garage rock, but in the hands of The Sacred Broncos, it turns out to be a pretty big garage. The title tracks boasts elements of 60s surf music, while “Runnin’ Shoes” (one of the bands earliest songs, and a favorite of Jenkins’) is straightforward rock n’ roll based around a crunchy Bo Diddley beat. “I think one of my favorite songs is ‘Holy Roller,’ says Derek Mauger. “It sounds like some sort of revival.”
Analog Ocean ends with “Heaven and Hell,” a ballad with piano and waves of guitar distortion that dissolves into a soundscape of feedback. “It's definitely the one song not like the others on the album, but I think people will like it,” says Jenkins. “Plus, I really like the layered soundscape and piano part at the end. It sort of happened on accident--we were all in the control room, playing around with the delay reel, not knowing exactly how it was going to turn out, but when it happened, we all got goosebumps. It was a cool effect.”
The Sacred Broncos celebrate Analog Ocean with a CD release party at the Brass Rail on February 4 with support from Church Shoes and Street Lamps for Spotlights. Analog Ocean is out on Chain Smoking Records that same day.
For more, visit chainsmokingrecords.com