Tag: Single Review: Preoccupations Ricochet

Canadian post punk outfit and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations —  Matt Flegel (bass, vocals), Mike Wallace (drums), Scott Munro (guitar) and Daniel Christiansen (guitar) — will be releasing their fourth, full-length album Arrangements on September 9, 2022. Longtime label home Flemish Eye will handle the release throughout Canada while the band will self-release the album outside of Canada.

Initial work on Arrangements began in the fall of 2019, when Flegel and Christiansen met up with Munro at his Montreal-based Studio St. Zo. The trio wrote the album’s material and recorded all of the bed tracks together. Wallace then joined in and recorded his parts. With all of the instrumental parts laid down, the band planned to reconvene in a few months and decided what else the songs needed.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the JOVM mainstays’ plans were to reconvene in person were halted. At the time Munro was in Calgary on tour with his partner when the shutdowns began, so he wound up staying with parents for the next 16 months. He whipped up a make-shift studio in his parents house, and the rest of the record was finished remotely with Munro and Flegel sending tracks back and forth to each other: Munro’s vocal and keyboard parts were completed in that set up while Flegel’s vocal parts were laid down in New York. Holy Fuck‘s Graham Walsh mixed the record and Total Control‘s Mikey Young mastered it.

Interestingly, pandemic isolation encouraged the members of the band to reconnect with elements of their earlier releases: Munro, holed up in Calgary with endless weed gummies, obsessively doubled keyboards on guitars and vice versa, sampled the recordings using an old Ensoniq keyboard sample and made new parts out of the samples. While on 2016’s self-titled and 2018’s New Material, Munro was committed to making keyboards the centerpiece, Arrangements sees guitar returning to the spotlight — an instrument that he describes as much more fun and visceral to play. Throughout most of the album, Christiansen employs a unique tuning that sees him blurring and smearing his parts while Munro’s standard-tuned riffs provide melody and clarity. The end result is an album that sonically will see the band weaving their guitar-heavy origins with their more synth-based recent work to create what may arguably be their most intense and playful album to date.

Much like its predecessor New Material, Arrangements‘ title is simultaneously literal and cheeky — a sharp contrast to their overall aesthetic. Thematically, the album is dark and direct: “The lyrics are pretty conspicuous and self explanatory on this one, but it’s basically about the world blowing up and no one giving a shit,” says Flegel. 

“Ricochet,” Arrangements‘ first single, is a murky and dark churn featuring around layers of glistening and distorted guitar slashes, rolling and lashing snare, atmospheric synth arpeggios, a propulsive bass line paired with Flegal’s mournful, embittered delivery and their penchant for rousing hooks. While being a slick and seamless synthesis of their early work and their most recent work, “Ricochet” manages to evoke the creeping, existential dread we all felt — and perhaps continue to feel — during one of the most heightened periods in recent memory.

2022 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES:

Oct 19th – Loving Touch – Detroit, MI

Oct 20th – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH

Oct 21st – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL

Oct 22nd – Racoon Motel- Davenport, IA

Oct 23rd – Turf Club in St. Paul – Minneapolis, MN

Oct 26th – Commonwealth – Calgary, AB

Oct 28th – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA

Oct 29th – Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, BC

Oct 30th – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

Nov 2nd – Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA

Nov 4th – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA

Nov 5th – Valley – Phoenix, AZ

Nov 8th – Paper Tiger – San Antonio, TX

Nov 9th –  Parish – Austin, TX

Nov 10th – Three Links – Dallas, TX

Nov 12th – Aisle 5 – Atlanta, GA

Nov 16th – DC9 – Washington, DC

Nov 17th – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA

Nov 18th Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

Nov 19th – Space Ballroom – Hamden, CT

Nov 21st –  The Sinclair – Boston, MA

Nov 22nd – Bar Le Ritz – Montreal, QC

Nov 24th – Lee’s – Toronto, ON