The members of Pittsburgh-based Lovebettie admit that their first album, The Red Door EP, didn't have the swagger they wanted. Fans responded well, and the band gained momentum touring nationally, but lead singer and keyboardist Alexandra Naples admits it was a bit of a disappointment. "I didn't fall in love with our first album" she says. "It makes me sad. I felt like our fans deserved better."
With Red Door, Lovebettie came up against what radio host Ira Glass has referred to as the "taste gap": the space between the work you're producing and your ambitions for what the work could be. The band's new album, Rise, bridges Lovebettie's taste gap. The band's four members speak about Rise with the pride of new parents — and one of their points of pride is that the album is something of a Frankenbaby.
"We've created a monster out of four totally different influences: soul, grunge rock, funk-jazz, and progressive rock," says drummer Larry Shotter. "The first album had all of those influences, but we couldn't figure out how to make them work together. This album has it."
The members also credit their improbable chemistry to a shared belief that none of their individual styles should dominate, and that genre classifications are silly anyway. And they've honed their sense of how to stitch their disparate influences together. "Everybody writes for the benefit of the song," says guitarist C.T. Fields. "The four of us get into a room and we throw shit at a wall, and it becomes our music."
"All these bands ... they're ripped apart and turned into something they're not," says Naples. "We all decided we're just going to do us, whatever comes of it."
Bolstered by a fruitful Kickstarter campaign that bought them a new (used) tour van, Lovebettie is over the moon about sharing Rise with fans on tour this summer.
"We sound like us now," says bassist Dan Mulkeen. "We do straight rock, but we can funk, we can swing, we can have a ballad here and there."
"We can get sultry," adds Naples. "But it still sounds like us every time."