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A Bad Night for a Hero releases “dreadfully personal” debut album 

click to enlarge Weathered Statues, whose debut LP includes a remix by The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst, will celebrate with a May 11 Hi-Dive show. - ELIZABETH AVILA
  • Elizabeth Avila
  • Weathered Statues, whose debut LP includes a remix by The Cure’s Lol Tolhurst, will celebrate with a May 11 Hi-Dive show.
Musicians, like most other human beings, derive meaning from context, so the situations experienced while making an album can often color the content. Would Guns N’ Roses’ notorious LP Chinese Democracy have been as notable without its decade-long recording process and $14 million production costs? Could Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica turn out to be the unhinged statement it is without Beefheart’s gaslighting and physical abuse of the Magic Band? For that matter, would Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral still be as spooky if it hadn’t been recorded — inadvertently, per Trent Reznor — in the house where Sharon Tate was murdered? Such cases can easily give the impression that noteworthy music is at least partially informed by adversity.

Local indie rock outfit A Bad Night for a Hero might know a thing or two about that. The band is preparing to debut its long-awaited album On the Balcony with a release show at the Triple Nickel on Friday, May 11. But the process of making the album actually began back in mid-2015. With most of the songs written, the band went into the studio with producer Schylar Woods of Wescott Pro Audio, only to realize that they’d run out of material and that no more appeared to be forthcoming.

The ensuing lull in recording, along with the stress of trying to write, brought the band’s momentum to a standstill, according to frontman C.J. Hackett. “Pro tip, kids,” he says with a laugh, “don’t start recording a studio album unless you’ve got everything ready to go.”

With the prospect of splitting up on the horizon, Hackett and the band decided they would at least go back into the studio to finish the album. Woods, meanwhile, was convinced that his own skills as a producer had improved to the point where A Bad Night for a Hero should go back to square one and re-record the entire album.

“I’m not sure if all bands struggle with their first record, but we certainly did,” says Hackett in retrospect, “and we hope it was worth it for everyone listening to it now. I guess it sounds a little grim, but, if this is the last thing we do, I can be satisfied with it.”

The album’s thematic elements — conflict and acceptance, explorations of depression and anxiety — are conveyed by the dark and, in Hackett’s words, “dreadfully personal” nature of its songwriting. But the first things that actually strike you upon listening are Randall Bell’s thunderous drums, Hackett’s textured guitar and Maranda Sandoval’s keyboards, which give a poppy, new-wave sheen to the punk energy of tracks like “Dead Lovers” and “Carnival Rides.” All things considered, it’s the perfect base for Hackett and bassist Brandon Arnold’s witty, heart-on-sleeve lyrics, and there’s no tension present that doesn’t need to be.

In other album-release news, the Denver-based four-piece Weathered Statues are also putting out their debut full-length, Borderlands, on the independent Finnish label Svart Records. The bandmembers — whose influences include the heavy post-punk of Siouxsie & The Banshees, Christian Death and Echo & The Bunnymen — share a resumé that includes stints in The Blue Ontario, Hyacinth and Cloak of Organs. (And, since all roads in Denver lead back to Slim Cessna, drummer Andrew Warner also happens to be in Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.) The band also managed to get Cure co-founder Lol Tolhurst to remix the album’s opening track.

You can catch Weathered Statues, and pick up your own copy of Borderlands, when they perform this Friday, May 11, at Denver’s Hi-Dive, along with Echo Beds and — who else? — Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.


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