Beard Springsteen, Fredericton’s favourite downer punks are back with an EP that serves up a more sophisticated sound while maintaining their punk roots.
Beard Springsteen is the brainchild of Jean-Étienne Sheehy (The Trick, Off Season), a solo project started while Sheehy was completing his Masters in Halifax. In December of 2015, Sheehy returned to his hometown of Fredericton where he teamed up with Josh Steeves (Brookside Mall, The Damnsels, The Kamalas). From there, the two “started jamming as the band we first envisioned when we first met in 2012” says Sheehy.
Their new EP Some Kind of Lobster has a sense of polish that contrasts the raw sound of their previous release—and their first project as a duo— Downer Punks of Fredericton. Sheehy states, “I feel like these were two completely different projects. Downer Punks of Fredericton was recorded in one evening, without any expectations, just so we could have something out there to show what we did as a band.” While Downer Punks featured the lo-fi, off-the-floor immediacy characteristic of the punk genre, Some Kind of Lobster shows that a more finely-tuned, melodic EP isn’t any less edgy.
Sheehy wrote the songs on Downer Punks of Fredericton prior to Steeves’ joining the band, whereas Some Kind of Lobster consists of tracks written after the two joined forces. “Josh had more creative input into them and they define our sound a lot more,” says Sheehy.
Recorded by long-time friend and audio engineer Dylan Ward (David in the Dark), Some Kind of Lobster took shape over four sessions. On recording with Ward, Sheehy says, “Working with someone outside of the band (Dylan Ward) also helped us go beyond our comfort zone, to capture elements we can’t have on our own,” adding that “[Dylan] has a fantastic ear and he was able to help us achieve our goals in the studio.”
Beard Springsteen’s goal with the new EP was to go beyond their previous projects and to showcase themselves as a “more mature and tight band.”
“Last week, we tracked songs for a compilation a friend of ours is putting out as well as a split cassette we’ll be releasing on Bored Coast Records this fall,” stating that, “Beard Springsteen is just one big work in progress in general. We’ve achieved so many goals this year—like playing festivals like No Funswick and Sappyfest, and releasing a proper album, that at this point, we’ll need to resettle and talk about the next steps.”
The EP has a sense of cohesiveness, loneliness and lost loves thematic to the four singles. ‘Slippery Sidewalks’ is a brooding, wintery song, the lyrics “I’m still afraid of my shadow, I fear what’s outside of my window” rife with anxiety and that guttural ground hog reaction to social interaction. ‘Bored at the ECMAs’ has nothing to do with the East Coast Music Awards it seems, preoccupied with the lies we tell ourselves when we’re still in love with an ex. ‘ATMBNB’ is a response to the earlier ‘Slippery Sidewalks’, finding comfort in seclusion that is reflected in the upbeat guitar riffs while “He Said, She Said” highlights the EP’s angsty tone with rhythmic drumming and melodies.
You can catch the downer punks of Fredericton in the city they call home, as Beard Springsteen perform alongside Outtacontroller and BA Johnston at the Capitol Complex on September 30th.
On the upcoming show, Sheehy states, “This is going to be our first show in Fredericton since April, and we’re really stoked about it because we both genuinely love this city. We’ve played more outside our hometown this year than here, so it’ll be great to get a chance to show people what we can do as a band.”