Playing music, it’s easy to get so hung up on technique you forget to have fun — but for Fall of Electricity guitarist Ross Cowman and drummer Andrew Dorsett, that’s never been an issue.
The duo’s joyous, tuneful self-titled debut was one of the best instrumental rock records you probably didn’t hear unless you lived in Olympia circa 2010, or happen to know the members’ other projects — Cowman’s June Madrona, and Dorsett’s LAKE.
Come September 1, they’ll release their second full-length, The Grunge Era — featuring “Infinite Sadness,” below.
As someone who attended Evergreen and stood up front for countless Fall of Electricity shows in Westside Olympia houses, moments from that first record — the highlife-inspired fretboard hopping on “Organic Produce,” the stuttering false endings of “Camp Quixote” — left an indelible mark. The new material might not be as familiar yet, but “Infinite Sadness” is nonetheless an auspicious album opener, and an apt introduction to a fine DIY band.
Less about the big payoff than the journey to get there, the same melancholic guitar line, but played at dramatically different speeds, bookends the song — starting with a gallop, eventually slowing to a crawl. That part serves as a springboard to dizzying finger-tapping and minor-chord string-bending, with loose-limbed percussion — complementary, not flashy — maintaining a decidedly live feel.
How does a track like this get written? Says Cowman: “We get together and eat breakfast in the morning, then rehearse for two or three hours. We start by improvising, then build up the songs bit-by-bit. I don’t think anyone else could understand our semi-verbal communication when we’re writing, but it makes perfect sense to us.”
Although the pair has logged thousands of shows around the world with their other projects — working as music teachers and session players between tours — they’ve still yet to take Fall of Electricity off the West Coast despite having been a band since 2008.
Cowman says he’s open to making it more than a side project if the crowd-funded Grunge Era gains traction — but also doesn’t mind remaining a well-kept secret.
“Part of why this band works so well is that we take our time and just let it be what it wants to be. We might tour Europe in 2015, and I’d like to do another album eventually… maybe in a couple of years.
“But mostly I just want to continue hanging out with Andrew and making breakfast together.”