The reception to Parachute's fourth album, "Wide Awake," has taught frontman Will Anderson something about expectations.
"You go into releasing an album and there's such an idea of what song will be responded to in what way that fits this kind of preconceived notion that you have, and other songs you think are more of a risk," the 30-year-old singer and guitarist says by phone from the Virginia modern rock group's tour bus. "But it's funny; With this album I feel like a lot of the songs we assumed people wouldn't necessarily respond to have been some of the songs that have really raised their hands, that fans really like.
"So to have those songs connect as well as they have was a pleasant surprise for me, compared to what I thought it would be. It goes conversely, too; Songs we assumed they'd be ecstatic over they've been less enthusiastic about. So go figure."
Anderson and company endured a bit of drama during the interim between "Wide Awake" and its 2013 predecessor "Overnight." Parachute lost a pair of members between albums, bassist Alex Hargrave and guitarist Nate McFarland. But Anderson says he, drummer John Stubblefield and keyboardist Kit French were prepared for their departures, so it wasn't particularly crippling as they began working on "Wide Awake."
"We kind of knew they were going to leave for a little while," Anderson confirms. "I don't think either of them had a long-term view of what they wanted to do, at least not the way it was with the core members now. The three of us had all been in my parents' basement recording hour after hour, so we're the ones who were in middle school trying to make music together and in band class together.
"And it worked out great. When we went to record this album it was a whole lot easier ot make decisions and be on the same page about things than when you have five guys in a room. It really pared everything down in a good way."