Led by Eli Hansen, the Minneapolis-based indie rock act Real Numbers will be releasing the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2016’s Wordless Wonder and 2017’s “Frank Infatuation” with their forthcoming EP Brighter Then. Slated for a January 22. 2020 release through Slumberland Records, Brighter Then, which was recorded during the winter of 2019/2020 is the first bit of recorded material with the band’s newest — and fifth — member, Sophie Durbin on keys.
Reportedly, finding the band delving deep into the classic, late 80s indie pop sound, Brighter Then lyrically finds the band’s Hansen taking a much more personal and introspective tack — with the material revolving around relationships, shifting perspectives and memories. Adult life is accepting the fact that things are complicated and endlessly shifting, sometimes in ways you can’t quite understand.
“Brighter Then,'” the EP’s title track and latest single is a deceptively breezy jangle pop confection featuring ethereal and gently reverb-drenched vocals, shimmering and jangling guitars, atmospheric synths, a propulsive rhythm section and an infectious, radio friendly hook. While continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting decidedly 80s New Zealand jangle pop-inspired work, the new single, which was slowly crafted over the last few years is centered around aching nostalgia just under its surface: “Brighter Then” focuses on the evolving friendships — the losses, gains and acceptance of the present. And at its core is the tacit understanding that we can’t get the past back; things are what they are.
“It all started at our old rehearsal space, the basement of the now defunct DIY venue Coming Soon,” Real Numbers’ Eli Hansen says of “Brighter Then.” “It was late 2016 and we had finished recording Wordless Wonder and were having these very sporadic, unfocused practices, so I just started playing this riff over and over. The jam didn’t really go anywhere, but I knew this riff was special and deserved attention. Over the course of the following year I came up with an intro/outro and a vocal melody, culminating as a barely passable live version at a basement show in December 2017. After I finished the lyrics, Ian recorded a demo version of it in 2018 that sounded great, but also exposed some weak spots—like the key we’d been playing it in. We even made a couple changes to the bass and synth arrangements while recording this, the final version—and I tell ya, I think it’s perfect.”
The recently released video by Carolyn Hawkin features construction paper-based, stop motion animation and hand drawn imagery. And while possessing a child-like nature, the DIY video seems to evoking the cyclical nature of everything and the passing of time.