"THERE'S SEVEN PEOPLE in the band, and in many ways I feel like the band had seven different beginnings," says Tim Perry, guitarist and vocalist for Portland band AgesandAges. Listening to AgesandAges' debut album, Alright You Restless, or seeing their ecstatic live show, it's immediately obvious that every one of those seven is a crucial element. Each vocal harmony plays its role, and every handclap falls exactly where it needs to. (It should be mentioned that there are lots of handclaps in AgesandAges' repertoire; in fact, the band might very well be the greatest practitioners of the handclap currently performing.)
Perry formed AgesandAges after the dissolution of Pseudosix, a terrific and often overlooked band whose depressive catalog seems at direct odds with AgesandAges' rapturous one. "Pseudosix is, by and large, a topic that's kind of done to me," Perry says. "Not in a dramatic way, just... I'll say briefly that in my opinion, this band really has no similarities." Alright You Restless' outstanding first song, "No Nostalgia," was the first song Perry wrote for the new band, and in that light can be interpreted as a statement of purpose—a massed chorale tackling a joyous melody, and lyrics that describe "the lack of interest in holding any sort of grudge, just looking only forward," as Perry puts it.
"Having been through the recording process on multiple occasions, I was no longer interested in the overdub," he explains. "The idea of having seven people in this band came from the actual desire to have seven hands on deck at all times, to have every little minor detail covered in a live setting. Because those things aren't minor. I was listening to a lot of '70s soul and Afrobeat at the time—and still am—and things like handclaps are actually very much part of the rhythm, and a very human part of it. The same goes for the vocals and the harmonies."
Alright You Restless was recorded with Viva Voce's Kevin Robinson at his Amore!Phonics home studio. "Ultimately it was a very quick recording process, because we weren't figuring shit out," Perry says. "It was just like, let's set up the mics here, strum strum strum, sounds good, let's go!" It was originally slated to be a six-song EP, which the record label liked so much that they asked AgesandAges to turn it into a full-length. The band happily obliged.
Their sunny sound—equal parts gospel, soul, country, and rock, so that any genre descriptor other than "pop" doesn't quite fit—was designed to be infectious and invitational. "I saw these songs being sung by people who had willfully distanced themselves from civilization, people who were living in a bubble," says Perry. "They share an 'everything's going to be perfect from now on' kind of vibe, this naïve optimism. There's also a constant reaffirmation of this belief that where we are right now is so much better than where we came from. The intent was to celebrate isolation, and to celebrate the happiness that comes from not being too concerned with other people's lack of interest or other people's naysaying.
"When you make stuff, you want to make it from the most genuine place," Perry continues. "You don't really want to think about what people are going to say about it or how it's going to be judged. And that's basically what we're saying with this album."