About the album by the band:
The album begins with the pounding metallic slash of guitar strings of “Fix Bayonets!”.
It’s harsh and desolate at first, but builds into a thrilling synth sprint.
The track —from its call-to-arms title and tense first guitar phrases to its whirlwind evolution— sets the stage for what is to come: a Preoccupations record that weaves their guitar-heavy origins with their newer synth-based work. The result is Arrangements, a record that is at once the band’s most intense, engaging, and playful work yet.
On the album release, vocalist Matt Flegel says “I’m certain that I’ve been writing about the same bleak things over and over again throughout the lifespan of Preoccupations.
This time around the themes of isolation, anxiety, trepidation, imminent self-annihilation, fear of totalitarianism, and general malaise unintentionally all feel a little more relevant than they have in the past.
I guess that’s not a great sign, but I think we’ve taken this culmination of dark things, and turned it into something that can happily be listened to loudly, and that is maybe even…fun?”
Work on Arrangements began in the fall of 2019, when vocalist and bassist Matt Flegel and guitarist Danny Christiansen met up with Munro at his Studio St. Zo in Montreal. The three wrote the record’s material and recorded all of the bed tracks, then drummer Mike Wallace joined and laid down his parts. All told, drums, guitars, and bass were completed during the sessions at Studio St. Zo.
The band planned to reconvene in a couple of months and decide what else the songs needed.
When COVID hit, those plans were halted. Munro was in Calgary on tour with his partner when shutdowns began, so he ended up staying in the city with his parents for the next 16 months. He whipped up a make-shift studio in their house, and the record was finished remotely via Munro and Flegel sending tracks back and forth. All of Munro’s vocals and keyboard parts were completed in this new set up, while Flegel’s vocals were done in New York. Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) mixed the record, and Mikey Young (Total Control) mastered it.
The isolation in part encouraged 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 sampler, and made new parts out of the samples. While Munro was committed to making keyboards the centerpiece of the band’s 2016 and 2018 releases, this time, guitar returned to the spotlight — an instrument he describes as more fun and visceral to play. Christiansen’s guitar is in a unique tuning for almost the entire record, blurring and smearing the tracks while Munro’s standard-tuning riffs provide melody and clarity.
Arrangements gets: 📷📷📷📷📷📷📷📷📷/10.
Preoccupations – Arrangements [Streaming]
About the album by the band: