It would have been a recipe for disaster for many other bands: Rent a house on the Jersey shore, live in that house together for months on end, while self-recording and producing a bold, sophomore record.
For Asbury Park-based Readymade Breakup, this daring approach yielded “Alive On The Vine,” a substantial set of 10 songs, hand-crafted and brought to life on the New Jersey shore. The band’s follow-up to 2007’s “Isn’t That What It’s For?” marks a deviation toward the blues, alternative country rock and traditional rock ‘n’ roll tones.
“Isn’t That What It’s For?” stood apart in the New Jersey music scene as a prime example of pop rock at its best – contagious melodies, driving rhythm and compelling lyrics. All of these elements are still present on “Alive On The Vine,” but tonally, the record has a much earthier, organic sound and feeling – what the members of Readymade Breakup attribute to the band’s well-defined identity.
“I think with this new record, we actually became a band,” Gay Elvis, bassist and backing vocalist, said.
Over the years, Readymade Breakup has undergone lineup changes and faced disintegration. Rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Paul Rosevear explained with Readymade’s lineup solidified – largely through extensive touring – the songwriting process has become more collaborative and the band itself is more united.
“When you get out to total strangers, you just carry yourself a little bit differently and you have more focus and purpose, and get more to prove,” Rosevear said. “Even as we began to tour on the last record, there was an itch to do something that was us.”
Itch relief for Readymade Breakup came in the form of a hiatus to the Jersey shore, where in isolation, “Alive On The Vine” began to take shape.
“We all basically moved into a house together and made this thing for a couple of months,” Rosevear said. “Anything anybody wanted to pick up and play, they could play,” he added.
For Readymade, “anything” included pots and pans, which wound their way into a few of the rhythm tracks. Their use eventually became a source of discord. It seems that when you live and work with your fellow band members for months on end, even seemingly minor things can mushroom into major conflicts.
But according to Jim Fitzgerald, lead guitarist and backing vocalist, it was the forced reconciliation of different creative ideas that produced the dynamic sound of “Alive On The Vine.”
“I think that (self-production and recording) worked in our advantage because instead of somebody stepping in and saying, ‘This is how it’s going to be,’ we had to work it out and find something that we were all OK with ultimately,” Fitzgerald said.
Rosevear said the blowups, particularly the pots and pans incident, were some of his “fondest memories” from the recording process. “We somehow found the right thing to do,” he added.
Through various “guerilla” recording tactics – including the use of blankets and hollowed-out couches for sound dampening and isolation – Readymade Breakup has produced a vibrant set of songs rooted in the American musical tradition that are sure to resonate with all fans of rock ‘n’ roll. As the band takes to the road once again, Americans will once again be reminded why some of the nation’s best music comes from New Jersey.
Listen to Readymade Breakup at their MySpace.