– Above is Prom Date’s newest music video for their single “Good Morning Boyfriend.” It popped up on YouTube two days ago, and it’s awesome.
-By Nick BeJeaux
Memories make up who we are, and Prom Date remembers a lot about love and life in their first full-length album Portraits, out this weekend.
Over a year in the making, Portraits is comparable to an audible scrapbook – a vivid collection of snapshots showing the band’s past relationships and how they shaped them into who they are today. We see drowsy happiness and desire for intimacy in “Good Morning Boyfriend,” searing anger in “Red Light,” and everything in between. Oh, there are also zombies – metaphorical zombies, that is. But according to the band, the first, titular track, “Portraits,” shows you everything you need to know about this album.
“The song ‘Portraits’ actually talks about all the songs on the album,” said Brett Burke (vocals, keyboard, and synthesizers). “They’re all like little snapshots of where we’ve been at in relationships. Some of them cover the very beginning where you meet someone, others are about tragically breaking up and you’re super angry; so it runs the gamut of social interactions we’ve had over the years.”
“The song itself is more specifically about trying to look at these past experiences, people and relationships and make something out of it,” said Nick Boudreau (bass and keyboard).
While “Portraits” equates to the other eight songs on the album, it stands apart from the dance synth-pop Prom Date is known for and enters the world of the dreamy.
“When we looked at all the songs we had done at the point in the recording process there was a whole lot of floor-to-floor dance ballad rock songs happening, and we knew we had to even it out,” said Burke. “We wanted this album to be very well-rounded, so we lowered the tempo, chilled out and made something pretty. That’s also when we wrote ‘By My Side’ for Christine [Peirce] which is also very dream-poppy disco.”
“Strange,” the final track on Portraits, brings the tracklist full circle by balancing and in some way mirroring the first track.
“It all ties up at the end with ‘Strange,’” said David Fuller (vocals, keyboard and synths). “The bridge of that song is actually a reprise of the melody and lyrics from ‘Portraits.’ It’s a nice little way to tie up the album and make it a little more cohesive.”
Over the years the band’s lineup has changed many times, and the year leading up to the album was no different. However, the changes haven’t slowed the band down and have actually helped the band’s development of Portraits along. While they had used female vocals in the past, the addition of Rareluth’s Christine Pierce to the band brought a new level of harmony in the bands sound that had been missing for some time.
“I was really happy to bring a girl back into the mix – boy/girl harmony had always been a big deal to us before,” said Burke. “We added Christine in about halfway through recording the album. We had so much harmony going on in the album that we knew we needed a vocal timbre different from mine or David’s.”
Many, if not all, of the tracks on this album have been tweaked dozens of times over the years. The songs “Good Morning Boyfriend” and “Walking Dead,” which both appear on Portraits, were first published on the band’s self titled EP released in 2012. Comparing the past and present versions of both songs shows how Prom Date has matured and evolved over the years; becoming more sophisticated and powerful in their lyrics and sound.
According to Fuller, part of the desire to create Portraits was to finalize songs like “Walking Dead” and “Good Morning Boyfriend.”
“We had been working on many of these songs for several years before we ever started recording the album,” he said. “All of our songs have gone through this crazy maturation process and have gone through so many versions and instrumentations. I think they’ve finally reached their full potential.”
Besides finalizing songs after years of revisions, the band had the additional task making them work well together – no easy task, but one they feel they have accomplished.
“We worked through all of those arrangements and worked to make them fit into each other,” said Boudreau. “At first we had our songs and we liked they way they sounded, but the arrangements didn’t work well together. To me, this album was all about making our songs work together without making the same song ten times over.”
Prom Date has two shows lined up this weekend to celebrate the coming of Portraits. On Aug. 8 they will perform at the Spanish Moon (9 p.m.) with The Van Der Beeks and Baby Bee and on Aug. 9 they will pull a solo show at Gasa Gasa (10 p.m.) in New Orleans. Follow the band on Facebook for information on shows, tracts, music videos and more.
w/ The Van Der Beeks and Baby Bee