The duo self-produced the new album at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, Rhode Island; Lamb praised Keith Souza and his staff: "Keith and those guys are the best kind of engineers, in that they don't interfere with the creative process, but they will push you to the limit in order to get the very best take possible."
HITTING THE BOOKS
Leaving your day job behind in favor of a musical career obviously has its benefits, including one advantage Lamb has applied to his craft-— reading. And lots of it, particularly during those long drives between shows. The Fits of Reason press notes cites lyrical influences ranging from philosophers such as Plato and Omar Khayyam to modern-day British-American author Christopher Hitchens.
"I really appreciate the luxury of having more time to read now," Lamb said. "When I would come home from working at the shipyard, I wasn't really reading because I was always exhausted."
MorganEve cited the literary presence in the new work: "[David] was totally immersed in reading different philosophies and religious teachings," she said. "It dominated all of our conversations, and he would incorporate some of that into the lyrics, so it was sort of all-encompassing."
Lamb and Swain share an apartment in Warren, Rhode Island, which includes a small "music room" where the songs are usually fleshed out. Lamb's consumption of the written word is trumped only by his consumption of coffee while working from home, while Swain prefers the nighttime setting accompanied by a glass or two of whiskey.
The aforementioned Fits of Reason press release opens with a quote from 18th-century author Thomas Paine (who penned Common Sense in 1776), which led to the album title: "Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it." The notes state that Paine directly inspired the "flurry of cerebral themes" and that the album "grapples with the human condition in a smooth but unapologetic departure from the band's previous release."
The remarkably different approach is immediately apparent. Salt for Salt opens with "Fingers To the Bone," clearly depicting Lamb's exhausted state of mind: "I've worked my fingers to the bone, not a pretty little penny have I got to show/I ain't looking for much, just a little bit of rest by the side of the road." But Fits of Reason leads with loftier concerns on "Seven Hells": "The seventh hell inside impales and divides us/And scatters our skin with the seed/Of our deeds devoured, of other worlds showered/As our demon celestials bleed."
Skim through the lyrics on any Brown Bird album and it should come as no surprise to learn that Lamb was the son of a minister; he left his home and the Catholic Church behind following high school.
"My dad's background has been ingrained in me, but I also never stropped seeking out my own beliefs and exploring different ideologies," Lamb told me.
And that makes a song like "Barren Lakes" that much more intriguing, when Lamb sings, "We'll bathe in the blood of salvation's name/fast and feast upon its flesh and prey."
TURNING IT UP