About two years ago, the Deathray Davies singer/songwriter John Dufilho rounded up a few mates—bandmate Jason Garner, Old 97's drummer Philip Peeples and bassist Andy Lester—to play Sunday nights at a pub in Dallas called the Barley House. "Basically, we wanted to drink for free and have something fun to do on Sundays," Dufilho tells me over the phone from the road, where he's traveling in a Suburban sporting loads of duct tape repeatedly spelling out the group's name: I Love Math. "We can't afford actual band stickers," Dufilho laughs.
Not yet anyway. What started as a just-for-fun, weekend-closing playtime blossomed unexpectedly into two albums, a full US tour, and a swiftly multiplying fanbase. I Love Math recorded their first full-length effort with little intention, self-releasing the self-titled record around Dallas only. Onstage at the Barley House, "We'd just wing it and have fun," Dufilho says. "It was never a serious thing."
Still, without aim, a sound—an instantly loveable amalgam of '60s rock, pop, and country—of their own began to unfold. And so Dufilho decided to direct more energy into writing songs for I Love Math and their excellent new album Getting to the Point Is Beside It. Anchored by a kit limited to just kick, snare, and brushes, the group's foundation is based on musical subtlety, which led Dufilho to write in a similarly low-key style. "I wanted to be really minimalist and straightforward," he explains. "I wanted the songs to be as simple as possible and define a sound that has limitations, like our rule of having no cymbals."
The minimalist approach brought the feathery vocals (both Dufilho and Garner sing) to the forefront and allowed for a warm and swaggering sound that meanders seamlessly from gritty country western to shimmying retro pop—it's the sort of album you welcome home for kicking back and enjoying, easily. You could call it a Sunday record, and lucky for us their Portland stop is a Sunday set and they play first—get there early.