This is a big week for Newfoundland's sweethearts Hey Rosetta! Their third full-length album dropped on Feb. 15 and its release has already set off a new wave of comments about the band's similarity to Canadian juggernaut's The Arcade Fire. While always a compliment, it's quite daunting for the Newfoundlanders to be compared to the band that just scooped Album of the Year at the Grammies.
"It's scary to even think of that," says guitarist Adam Hogan. "Album of the year -- that's the big one."
Though their previous album, Into Your Lungs (and around your heart and on through your blood) was as ambitious and grand as the name was long, their latest release is definitely a distinct shift.
"I personally think it's stronger than the last one," says Hogan. "Hopefully others will agree. It's not a major departure or anything, but the songs are just stronger tunes, the playing is better. I just like this batch of music more than the last batch. That's going to happen, it's just fresher stuff and I'm more excited about it. I definitely think that people who liked the last one will like this one."
The album is more succinct. Where before Hey Rosetta! focused on epic build-ups and complex arrangements, Seeds represents a difference aesthetic.
"We're not trying to do everything with every song," says Hogan. "We're just more mature in that way, and thinking, 'Okay, this song doesn't have to have all these epic huge moments in it preceeded by these soft buildups.' Into Your Lungs had that going on. I think these songs are a little bit more to the point, a little more concise."
Though there are still complex arrangements, the band has embraced the aesthetic that marked their 2010 Red Songs EP release. One of the songs from the EP, "Bandages," even ended up on the album.
"We're are doing what feels right," says Hogan. "It's three years since we recorded the last one. You're hopefully growing as a musician through that time. I hope that comes across -- it certainly does in my opinion."
The road for Hey Rosetta! has been long, but rewarding. The band formed in 2005 when front man Tim Baker returned from Concordia University with a handful of songs he wrote and decided he needed a band to back him up. A year after they formed, they released their full-length debut Plan Your Escape (which was later cut down to an EP for its national release) and started playing shows in bars around St. John's.
"Since the start, it's been a steady climb," says Hogan. "I can't say it's been frustrating because we've never really been standing still. We just keep kind of growing -- the buzz is growing, and more and more people are coming out to the shows. Touring as much as we do, you have your bad days, but ultimately we get to make records and people seem to be excited about listening to them, so hopefully we can continue."
The buzz and crowds are growing, but the band has a long way to go before they win a Grammy. Maybe one day.