Futurebirds showcases life's struggles through lyrics

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Futurebirds showcases life's struggles through lyrics

David McClister

David McClister

David McClister

Photo courtesy of David McClister

Chandler Padgett

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“The line is good and ready, toe it as hard as you like”—guitarist Thomas Johnson’s favorite line from the new album, Hotel Parties, and the one he said is most emblematic of Athens-based band Futurebirds.

Released in September, “Hotel Parties” is the third studio album by the band, and involves a new take on their sound, which is a blend of ubiquitous steel guitar, a dash of spirited country twang and alternate-rock riffs.

Johnson jokingly described their music as a “chainsaw dropped into a tropical aquarium.” 

He didn’t name specific artists that influenced them but rather the environment of Athens. 

“Athens has done wonders for the band. It set the stage for us to actually meet up and start making music. It’s the perfect landscape to foster a young band, both because of the plethora of venues and the surplus of amazing people working as musicians and in other musical capacities who’ve been there and done it.” Johnson said. “We all grew up in the South so I suppose all the moody, strangely artistic music and landscapes around us have influenced us more than anything.” 

The album is more straightforward than the band’s past records, stripping some of the esoteric lyrics and melodies yet retaining their trademark sound. 

“Ultimately the lyrics are very barebones and honest on this record, getting down to the real struggles of life, things that are universal but also very specific to us.  We feel it’s our best work yet, musically and lyrically, and we’ve never been more confident in where we’re going and what we’re doing,” Johnson said. 

Many of the tracks are a commentary on the life of a touring band and its consequences, especially “Hotel Parties” and “For You.”   

“There was a change of perspective at some point between the recording of ‘Baba Yaga’ and ‘Hotel Parties,’” Johnson said. “Whereas in the past we were consumed by the novelty and shock of being able to be in a band, touring all these amazing places in America and beyond that eventually wears off.” 

Despite this, the band still loves touring.

“Playing shows is the ultimate,” Johnson said. “It is everything.”

Futurebirds will play at the Saturn in Birmingham on Oct. 15.