After making two very different albums, Detroit's Protomartyr wanted to put is third effort -- "The Agent Instinct," due out Friday, Oct. 9 -- right in between them.
"People were thrown off by our second record a little bit when it first game out," guitarist Greg Ahee says by phone from his apartment in Detroit's Lafayette Park. "The first album, (2012's 'No Passion, All Technique') was more straight-ahead punk, and (2014's 'Under Color of Official Right') was a little more spacious and produced. This time we wanted to take elements we liked from the first two and make a little bit of a bridge.
"So we tried to make this big-sounding record that was aggressive and disorienting but still had pop songs in there somewhere. When we finished, we were like, 'Alright, whatever we were trying to do wtih the first two records, we kinda did that with this one and now we can go in another different direction on the next one."
Ahee, 29, acknowledges that threading the musical needle he describes "was more difficult than we thought. The writing process was more intense, and we spent a lot more time writing this album than we did the first two." The quartet wrote many of the songs in the basement of bassist Scott Davidson's house in Ferndale, and the 12-song set is also frontman Joe Casey's most personal yet, from the lengthy "Ellen," about his late mother, to "Pontiac 87," his memories of attending Pope John Paul II's mass at the Pontiac Silverdome.
The latter, Ahee adds, also came as a surprise to he, Davidson and drummer Alex Leonard.
"(Casey) said he wanted to call it 'Pontiac 87;' I just assumed it was going to be about a car or something and was like, 'Alright, that might be a cheesy one,'" the guitarist says with laugh. "It wasn't 'til I actually heard him sing something about the Pope in the song when I was, 'OK, that makes a little more sense.'
"The new Pope skipped over Detroit this time," he adds. "Maybe after hearing the new Protomartyr record, he might decide to come here."
Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9-10. Doors open at 8 p.m.
The Marble Bar, 1501 Holden, Detroit.
Deaf Wish and Casual Sweetheart open on Friday, Spray Paint and Growing Pains play Saturday. DJ Larry Williams spins both nights.
Admission is $12.
Call 313-551-3158 or visit the Protomartyr or Marble Bar pages on Facebook.
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