Album

Attractive Nuisance

Attractive Nuisance

Genre : Rock/Ska/R&B/Indie/Soul/Stax
Released Date : 1 / Nov / 2017
  1. Workingman’s Daughter
  2. Emerald Eyes
  3. Highways
  4. Gotta Get Outta Here

Attractive Nuisance
Liner Notes

Attractive Nuisance is an unintentional concept EP presenting four radically different takes on human connection and our uncertainty about whether they can form and last. Musically, the Innocent Bystanders pay homage to late 60’s Stax, Spector’s Wall of Sound, Springsteen’s early 70s keyboard and sax driven “The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle” with a touch of 90’s Ska for good measure. Song structures have a traditional feel without being traditional. Sax lines harmonize with themselves as well as with the guitar. 12 string electrics appear playing lead lines as well as rhythm, and acoustic and electric six strings pan left and right throughout. Codas often take the place of breaks. These songs begin (and end) emphatically with a purpose. An intro is never just a verse or chorus with no words. The end is, well, clearly the end. The concept fading out doesn’t exist for this band. And when there is a break, it may be a bass, a piano, vocal/sax duet, or even a triangle. But the beat – yes the beat – is always R&B inspired, but never ordinary.

Gotta Get Outta Here explodes through a breakup that begins with a whirling B3 pumping through a Leslie rotary speaker on top of a rock beat that crescendos into the opening line. “The wind was blowing.” Yes, it was as the singer “waited by the crossroads for your love to ease my fear.” He reminisces about a hoped for path together that has been lost while he still travels it. The sense of uncertainty is punctuated by harmony sax counterpoint to each vocal phrase. Until finally, he “will not wait to see redemption” and breaks free as a searing guitar coda paints a picture of the horizon receding in a “stared into rearview mirror.” He’s done it. He’s gotten out. But he’s still looking back.

Highways explores the uncertainty of an explorer, an adventurer, in tune with nature, but not with whether her partner can share the wonder that she sees in living her life. The song begins with a homespun bass line only to explode into major-minor-major chord pattern that anchors the song. “Do you dare to touch the sunset . . .” Is it a question? Or is it a command? As the sax and vocal duet through a bridge we accept the certainty of the desert that “has no secrets” and the mountains that “tell no lies.” But as the sax wails alone through to the end as the final cymbal’s reverb tail fades away, somehow we know that we’ll never be as certain about human relationships.

Emerald Eyes tells a tale of uncertainty of a different kind. Now, we find a singer at the precipice of a relationship. “Thought I knew what they meant when they talked about love.” The intro is a sharp tight bassline foreshadowing the pounding verses finely detailing moments in pursuit of connection. The contrasting chorus is an ocean wave crashing gently over the listener as the singer confesses to an apparent eye opening certainty – her “search should be over” because she can’t live without her partner “now that I know what I’m missing.” Torrid bass and sax breaks connect the emotional pleading tide of a chorus back to the heat of the verse, ending again with a reality in which human connection if not entirely uncertain is at best a continuing contradiction. “The boat’s in flames but the lake remains pristine.”

Working Man’s Daughter (aka Moonlight on the River) is a fantasy about a kind of love that the singer has come to realize doesn’t exist. It begins with a hopeful piano figure soon layered with everything — bass, acoustic guitar, 12-string electric, B3, even a flute, forming a wall of sound on which a faded, folded love letter floats. The singer just wants “a chance with a workingman’s daughter.” But the scent of a broken heart is apparent at least by the end of the extended sax break as it echoes a melody of longing for something that the singer has almost, but not quite, learned to live without. “If we leave the illusion behind, we can find the truth.” Yes, but can we abandon that illusion? Do we want the truth? Of course, we’ll have to as the singer recognizes in promising to “be there when you need me.” As the opening hope for “a chance” is reprised, this time we’re sure there is none as the song launches into an extended coda of interplay between a 12-string electric guitar, saxophone, and vocals atop the relentless two-chord jam.

Or do they all live happily ever after? It’s possible; sure it is. See what you think.

Gotta Get Outta Here
Words & Music – Robert M. Karp
Arranged by – The Innocent Bystanders

Steve Berenson – drums & percussion
Jessica Lafave – tenor saxophone
Ben Nieberg – acoustic guitar, lead vocal, & background vocal
Kath Rogers – background vocal
Donny Samporna – electric 5-string bass
Steve Semeraro – electric 6-string guitars (Stratocaster rhythm & Telecast lead)
Kaimi Wenger – electric piano & Hammond B3

Highways
Words & Music – Kaimipono D. Wenger
Arranged by – The Innocent Bystanders

Steve Berenson – drums & percussion
Jessica Lafave – tenor saxophone
Ben Nieberg – acoustic guitar
Kath Rogers – lead vocal
Donny Samporna – electric 5-string bass
Steve Semeraro – electric 6-string guitars
Kaimi Wenger – electric piano & Hammond B3

Emerald Eyes
Words & Music – Eric L. Lane
Arranged by – The Innocent Bystanders

Steve Berenson – drums & percussion
Jessica Lafave – tenor saxophone
Ben Nieberg – acoustic guitar
Kath Rogers – lead vocal
Donny Samporna – electric 5-string bass
Steve Semeraro – electric 6-string & 12 string guitars
Kaimi Wenger – electric piano & Hammond B3

Working Man’s Daughter (aka Moonlight on the River)
Words & Music – Steven Semeraro
Arranged by – The Innocent Bystanders

Steve Berenson – drums & percussion
Jessica Lafave – tenor saxophone & flute
Ben Nieberg – acoustic guitar, duet lead vocal, background vocal
Donny Samporna – electric 5-string bass
Steve Semeraro – electric 12-string guitar & duet lead vocal
Kaimi Wenger – electric piano & Hammond B3

Studio Versions
Recorded and Mixed by Ben Moore at Singing Serpent Studios, San Diego, CA
Produced by The Innocent Bystanders and Ben Moore
Mastered by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Sound, Los Angeles, CA

Live Versions
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Chris Holloway at Hendricks Hall, Rock & Roll San Diego, San Diego, CA.
Produced by The Innocent Bystanders

Instruments and Equipment
Acoustic Guitars: Martin and Taylor 6 string.
Bass: Ibanez 5-string
Drums: 1967 Ludwig kit with 12 and 13 inch mounted tom-toms; a 16 inch floor tom-tom, and 22 inch bass drum with a standard 14” chrome snare drum and three Zildjian brand cymbals (a 16” medium ride, a 16” crash ride, and a 20” thin crash). The hi-hat has 14” “New Beat” hit hat cymbals. The bass drum pedal is by Tama.
Electric Guitars: Fender 6 strings (1970’s Stratocaster & 2001 Highway One Telecaster); Charvel Surfcaster 12 string electric played through a Mesa Boogie Express 5:50 tube amp via an Xotic Effects compressor; Zen Drive; Dirty Little Secret; and an Obsura Altered Delay.
Horns: Vito Tenor Saxophone; flute
Keys: Hammond B3 with Leslie rotating speaker. Yamaha 235 portable grand model; and a Nord Electro.

Workingman’s Daughter // Attractive Nuisance
  1. Workingman’s Daughter // Attractive Nuisance
  2. Emerald Eyes // Attractive Nuisance
  3. Highways // Attractive Nuisance
  4. Gotta Get Outta Here // The Innocent Bystanders - Attractive Nuisance