Musically speaking, some bands just won't sit still. Take the Canadian collective named, ironically enough, The Stills. Album one: post-punk. Album two: hints of classic rock. But album three, currently under construction, just might sound like the end of the world. For singer Tim Fletcher, the sonic shifts are all just a part of "a big, overarching master plan."
"There is a definite end point that we want to reach, that we're working towards," he says, via phone from a New York studio. 2003's Logic Will Break Your Heart was a dark, dense masterpiece, all fuzzed-out guitars and mournful melodies of love and loss. Without Feathers, though carrying the same moody vibe, was both a stylistic and lineup shift, creating a whole new band.
"We have to take slow steps to get there, so that at the end, wherever that is, everything is summed up," says Fletcher. "The second record was a necessary step from the first. Now we're taking another one -- we need to put another flag post in the ground."
The Stills' reluctance to simply pick a sound and stick with it has been both a blessing and a curse. Whereas most fans admire the band's versatility, the press didn't take so kindly to the musical overhaul. "People were surprised by the change. We were surprised," says Fletcher. "But the press is its own animal, its own beast that we're not in control of."
With the still untitled third record, The Stills may take their rock 'n' roll riddle to tackle the globe.
"The world is definitely decaying. There are cracks in everything. If we survive as a species, we're going to have to leave the planet at some point," says Fletcher. "We're thinking a lot about that on this record. It's an anger about how this decay fucks with your relationships on a day-to-day level."
Even if the world's falling apart, at least one community is holding it together. The Stills' native Canada has long had a strong indie scene, including Broken Social Scene and The Arcade Fire. "There's more of a desire to communicate ideas and points and feelings in Canada," Fletcher says. "Plus, there are less people up there so we huddle together to stay warm."
While most of the details about The Stills' May release remain under wraps, Fletcher did let out a bit: "It's not like either of the first two."
The Stills. 6 p.m. (doors open). Thu., March 6. Diesel, 1601 E. Carson St., South Side. $12 ($15 day of show). All ages. 412-431-8800 or www.dieselpgh.com