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Staggering Statistics add to discography ... and band size

May 24, 2006 at 2:06 pm
Staggering Statistics

Staggering Statistics

Perhaps adopting the bunker mentality that many felt after Election Day 2004, Staggering Statistics holed up in the Greenhornes' practice space on that fateful day to record their second full-length disc. Full of jagged, skeletal guitars, propulsive bass playing and the short lyrical sketches of lyricist Austin Brown, the result, entitled All Of This and More, will be released nationally in June on Shake It Records (it is available now locally).

So in light of the many musicians that took very public stances on the 2004 election's outcome, was there any symbolism in the choice to record that day for the Statistics? No, says bassist John Curley.

"I don't think we even realized it was Election Day until it was almost upon us," he says. "If anything, it helped keep my mind off the inevitable, like the musicians on the Titanic playing while the ship sank."

Even without a political manifesto guiding their efforts, several tracks seemingly do touch on 2004's unsettling climate, clashing Brown's dreamy lyrical imagery with wry observations and impassioned cautionary tales. But if they're direct calls to action, no one's saying. What the Statistics did know is they wanted to capture the primacy and immediacy of their live sets — something ably accomplished on tracks like the frenetic "LCD" and the corrosive "Embrace Your Decay."

"We wanted it to sound rackety and raw," Curley says.

"Doing the record on location gave us a finite window of time to get the songs recorded and helped steer us away from excessive tinkering and retakes."

Drummer Joe Klug agrees. "It's always good to not overwork things," he says. "They tend to sound, well, overworked."

Together in some form since 2002, the Statistics initially served as a necessary lyrical outlet for Brown and a return to form for Curley who had taken a step back from playing music following the dissolution of The Afghan Whigs the previous year. Klug, a longtime friend of Brown's from their days working at Kaldi's Coffee House, completed the lineup after different drummers, including The Ass Ponys' Dave Morrison, had jammed with Brown and Curley at the latter's Ultrasuede Studio. A self-titled debut was released in 2003 to critical praise and a Cincinnati Entertainment Award for Best New Artist in 2005 followed.

The group's current association with Shake It Records is one of mutual affection — label owner Darren Blase and Curley have known one another for years — but it didn't take friendship to convince Blase that All Of This and More was a record he wanted to release.

"Austin gave me a copy and I thought it was one of the best Rock records I'd heard in a long time," he says.

The parties waited a year to fit the new disc into Shake It's release schedule and will now use their national distribution and promotion to get the word out. In the interim, Rhode Island-based independent label 75orLess came calling and convinced the band to release an EP of material recorded after the Election Day sessions entitled Pixelated Ones & Zeros.

The band attributes two releases in less than a year to Brown's workmanlike lyrical output — which his bandmates term "prolific" — and the added convenience of Curley owning Ultrasuede, which allowed the band to tape their rehearsals.

Recently, the Statistics added Sam Womelsdorf (Culture Queer, Throneberry) as a keyboardist and additional guitarist. According to Klug, making the transition from power trio to a fuller lineup was essential and important to the band's continuing development.

"I think we wanted to take it to the next level before it got too boring," Klug says. "There wasn't anything missing, per se, but with only three people to fill all that space it can get a little pressing. Now we can play less and get more."

THE STAGGERING STATISTICS (staggeringstatistics.com) open for the psychodots Friday at Southgate House. A BBQ/release party/in-store performance takes place June 3rd at Northside's Shake It Records, with labelmates Viva La Foxx.
Staggering Statistics