Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, a city well known for its history of producing excellent alternative rock and noise pop bands, is Real Numbers. Led by Eli Hansen, the five-piece band has a new EP called Brighter Then coming out on Friday, March 19 on Slumberland Records. It’s a four-track record (technically five, with the title track being reprised as the final track) featuring jangly, riff-centric psychedelic dream with hazy vocals. Today we’re premiering the EP’s third track, an instrumental song called “Old Cross.”
While Brighter Then opens with the mood-setting title track “Brighter Then” followed by even more peppy “Darling,” two songs that are driven by the reverberating vocals, “Old Cross” lets the band’s Real Estate-esque guitars take the lead. A crystal-clear riff takes the lead, over a second, hypnotic arpeggio riff. The percussion is barely noticeable, allowing the magnificent guitar tone to ring through the mix. The song is accompanied by a music video that consists of distant, hazy footage from some era of the past, like Real Numbers’ music, it’s hard to identify the exact time period it’s from but ultimately provides an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia.
“I can’t quite remember how I came up with the main arpeggio part but I swear it was extremely serendipitous,” said Hansen. “Like ‘what would happen if I played like this?’ then what I played was exactly those chords. I didn’t even know what chords they actually were until later on. The idea was to couple it with an atmospheric yet adventurous lead so I sent a recording of it to Cam who composed it by the following day. There was an incredibly simple bass line ready which Ian elaborated on and turned into something beautiful. James came up with that perfect Felt-y drum part, while Sophie’s keyboards give the song more of a Field Mice feeling. The video footage I found on YouTube via the VHS Archives who in turn, I believe, found it somewhere. It’s of Altandhu Scotland.”
em>Brighter Then follows the band’s 2016 album Slumberland Records debut Wordless Wonder and 7″ single that features a remix of their 2014 song “Frank Infatuation,” released through Market Square Records. Since the release of the latter, the band has added on Sophie Durbin as keyboardist, joining Hansen as well as Ian Nygaard, James Blackfield and Cameron Soojian. “Old Cross” along with “In The End” were co-written by Hansen and Soojian.
While Soojian normally plays bass for the band, on those two tracks he moves over to guitar with Nygaard playing bass. Brighter Then was recorded before the pandemic at A Harder Commune Studios in St. Paul, MN in October 2019, with the sessions wrapping up about a week before major lockdowns happened around the United States.
Brighter Then EP tracklist
1. Brighter Then
3. Old Cross
4. In The End
5. Brighter Then (Reprise)