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Alesana Goes High Concept On New Album

of the Oakland Press

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The members of North Carolina’s Alesana knew that its new album — “The Emptiness,” which came out Jan. 26 — would be “something different,” even while they were on the road touring its predecessor, 2008’s “Where Myth Fades to Legend.”

“We knew we wanted to do a full-on concept where all the songs depend on each other and there’s a complete story going on,” singer, guitarist and pianist Shawn Mike says of “The Emptiness,” which is based on the poems Edgar Allen Poe wrote to his wife, Virginia Clemm, who he addressed as Annabel Lee.

“We didn’t want to be, like, ‘Here comes just another Alesana record.’ We wanted to drop something that was really challenging and had, like, a small story that we could really write the songs around.”

Mike, 29, comes by that ambition naturally. Though fans might not know it from Alesana’s punky, hardcore dynamics, The Beatles were an early influence and “the whole reason I started playing music.” And the 1983 Beatles biography “The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles” gave him even more inspiration.

“I was blown away by the do-it-yourself attitude they had,” Mike explains. “I admired how they grew from nothing to as big as they got, just through determination and sticking to their guns and making the music they wanted to make.

“What’s interesting is because of (Alesana’s members) being around each other almost seven years now, we all have grown to like each other’s tastes. It’s made us all more diverse as far as our musical tastes go. That’s what kind of came through on the record, I think.”

Alesana, A Skylit Drive, Of Mice and Men, The Word Alive and We Came as Romans perform Saturday (Feb. 20) at The Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $13. Call 248-858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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