Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' self-made 2005 debut album, Nothing but the Water revealed a musically sophisticated young band inspired by the music of the late '60s/early '70s and fronted by a then-21-year-old dynamo whose nuanced singing, organ playing and songwriting belied her age. The follow-up, 2007's This Is Somewhere, confirmed that the band had no interest in following trends but was instead in pursuit of timeless expression as it forged its identity. On 2010's self-titled third album, GPN, toughened by a half decade of nonstop roadwork, flexed their rock 'n' roll muscles and confirmed that they were in it for the long haul.
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: The Lion The Beast The Beat
Now, seven years after hitting the radar, GPN take an exponential leap with the widescreen opus The Lion The Beast The Beat (released June 12, 2012). With this musically combustible and conceptually dazzling work, the Vermont-based band forcefully takes its place alongside the best of its peers while building on the rich legacy of its inspirations. During this a la carte age, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals have boldly pushed against the current, making a bona fide album that demands to be heard in its entirety . . . not that its 11 songs don't utterly beguile on their own. "This album is really a different animal than our previous records-no pun intended," says Potter.
"I think what people love about us is the energy we generate playing together and feeding off each other," says guitarist Scott Tournet. "There's a lot of drive in our band, and we managed to capture that on this record. We love the music that we cut our teeth on and it'll always be part of us, but we've reached the point where we're consciously trying to push things forward."
The Lion The Beast The Beat was produced by Potter and veteran producer Jim Scott (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco, the Tedeschi Trucks Band). Adding to the firepower of the project is Dan Auerbach who produced and co-wrote the track "Loneliest Soul" and also produced and co-wrote the band's first single "Never Go Back," and "Runaway," both of which were co-produced by Scott. David Campbell (Beck, My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne) arranged and conducted the strings on the album. The LP was mixed by fellow Vermonter and Grammy award winner Rich Costey (Foo Fighters, TV on the Radio, Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball). Alongside the band's original guitarist/songwriter Scott Tournet, drummer/band co-founder Matt Burr, guitarist Benny Yurco (who joined in 2009), Potter commenced recording the album inOctober, 2011. They later invited multi-instrumentalist Michael Libramento (from Floating Action) to join them on the sessions.
Less a concept album than a panoramic sonic terrain across which various thematic vectors collide and combine, The Lion The Beast The Beat "plays on the duality of human nature-the fact that we all have our demons and we all have the ability to begood." Grace explains. "More than ever, I think outside perception affects how we view ourselves... I started thinking about these archetypes: everyone perceives a lion as a powerful, glorious animal and a beast as a flawed, scary, unpleasant creature...but that's just on the outside. You only have to read a few children's fables to see those themes: the .Cowardly Lion' from The Wizard of Oz, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast - I'm fascinated by the idea that we all hold such a broad spectrum of impulses and how we choose to act on them makes us who we are."
The Lion The Beast The Beat represents a rite of passage for a band that is knocking on the door of greatness. "This process was more painstaking than on any other record we've made; a complete labor of love and hate. I credit the Nocturnals for courageously jumping off that cliff with me," Potter acknowledges. "We all took a risk and I hope that resonates when people hear the album."