Two years is an uncommon amount of time for band to spend on a record. But for The Pollies, the timing was just right.
Their debut album, “Where The Lies Begin,” is set to release Tuesday.
The craftsmanship in “Where The Lies Begin” manifests itself through the album; it doesn’t try to overcompensate with some furious opening track; rather it draws the listener in with melodies, sound textures, polish and a steady, rhythmic beat.
“Where the Lies Begin” isn’t built like a band’s first album. It’s more mature than that.
“It’s clearly a piece of work that the people in this band demanded to be released,” said Reed Watson, drummer for The Pollies. “It’s something they hung with and stuck with and worked on for a couple of years.”
The songwriting is grounded in stories, and the narrative that runs through it are based on vocalist and songwriter Jay Burgess’ childhood.
Burgess said there are stories concerning family — things his aunt and uncle went through, his grandparents and the death of his mother.
“The stuff from my childhood, it talks about growing up,” Burgess said. “Seems like your parents tend to hide the bad things from you. Then the older you get, the more you start to figure out these people you did respect, these people you thought were flawless, actually have messed up somewhere along the lines.”
Having a narrative is an important aspect when Burgess sits down to pen a song. He said it provides the foundation for lyrics.
“I tend to take a little truth and exaggerate it in the songwriting,” the Greenhill native said.
Enter the album title, “Where The Lies Begin.”
“It’s fairly autobiographical, and some of the songs are just made up, so Jay wanted (a name) that was about making up stories,” bassist Chris James said.
James said the name they originally considered was simply “Lies.” The band, however, realized Guns N’ Roses had an album of the same name.
“When we were making it, we were trying to figure out what we wanted to do,” James said. “We were trying different things trying to figure out what kind of sound we were going for. ... We have different people playing with us now that add different aspects of sound. It’s a growing process.”
The band’s diversity is evident in the variety of song structures on the album.
Tracks vary from the tight, polished sound of “Something New,” which is being promoted as the band’s single, to the upbeat, Southern rock-influenced anthem “Rebel Man,” to the sprawling, artistic and ambient “Ashes of Burned Out Stars.”
The Pollies will celebrate the release of “Where The Lies Begin” on Friday during Downtown Florence’s First Fridays on Mobile Plaza.
Burgess is a little nervous about expectations about the album, with bloggers and reviewers giving it such high praise. He said he didn’t want there to be a letdown when people listened to it.
“You’re always excited when you read something that somebody wrote about you that’s good,” Burgess said. “I guess it’s human to be excited about something like that.”
Watson said he’s been humbled by the praise, with some comparing “Where The Lies Begin” to late ’90s Wilco.
“I think it’s a special piece of work, but that’s up for people to decide when they hear it,” Watson said.
“I certainly like it, and I tend to not like things. Musically, I tend to get bored or jaded with things and I haven’t done that with this record. It’s something that I’m proud to be a part of.”
Watson pointed to the unique songwriting of Burgess as one of the album’s strengths.
“I think he really touched a nerve on this record, I think he really found his voice,” Watson said. “I think it’s a little bit different from what you’d expect to come out of this area. ... I don’t necessarily think we went into this trying to create something that was different from everything else. When we realized that it was different from everything else, we embraced it.”
Watson added, “(Burgess) walked down a road that doesn’t get walked down a lot.”
At a Glance
What: “Where The Lies Begin,” debut album from Shoals-based band The Pollies
Who’s involved: Jay Burgess, singer, songwriter; Chris James, bassist; Daniel Stoddard, steel-guitar, keys, effects; Matt Green, lead guitar; Ben Tanner, piano, organ; and Reed Watson, drums.
Recorded at: Studio 144, Greenhill
Tracks to check out: “Something New,” “Song For Carter” and “Ashes Of Burned Out Stars”
Details: polliesband.com and thisisamericanmusic.com