Known for handclaps, group harmonies and earnest, uplifting lyrics, the Portland, Ore., band Ages And Ages changes approaches slightly on its new album, Something To Ruin. The music is just as catchy, but the subject matter has taken a dark turn for the topical, delving into booming real-estate markets, consumerism and the impending Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
The album's title track was inspired by ruins that several band members toured in Central and South America. "We got a chance to experience what it feels like to walk among what was previously a civilization but [is] now completely overgrown by nature," bandleader Tim Perry says. "It was kind of weird to also see people walking around it and taking photos on their iPhones, and very obviously living a new life in a new civilization. And then sort of wondering, 'If it happened before, then maybe it's going to happen again.'"
"'Something To Ruin' is all about that urge to wreck stuff," Perry says. "Maybe we've reached a point of no return, and maybe things are getting ruined right now. And the world will go on, and in some ways, probably be a lot better off."
Ages And Ages reflects these themes sonically by plugging in, adding synths, electric guitar and distortion to a previously acoustic palette. "We always envisioned the theme getting a little darker and darker," Perry says of the band's three albums, "but there's always that string of hope that connects them."
Hear the full interview with Ages And Ages and watch more performances from the historic Portland venue The Old Church at opbmusic.org.