Year performed at 4 Peaks:
The lengthy song, which recounts explorer Ernest Shackleton’s disastrous trans-Antarctic journey in 1914, draws from Botsford’s love of adventure stories. (That adventure motif recurs throughout the album, and is reflected in the title, a play on “astrolabe,” the ancient navigational tool.) It’s one of four on the album co-written by Botsford and LeBart.
“So there was a documentary that was about (the expedition), and I was just blown away,” Botsford said. “And I had a riff already written, not for that song necessarily, but it was just kind of — Justin and I were doing actually a lot of writing in that year. … So basically, I’m like, ‘Justin, you’ve gotta watch this, and we’ve gotta write a song about it; it’s gonna be an epic tale.’ He’s like, ‘OK.’ We literally took notepads, and we watched it again.”
Perhaps the biggest evolution from “Dreamtime” is the energy the band brings to the songs — as LeBart points out, most of the album’s songs are at or above 100 beats per minute.
“It’s just a thicker, bigger sound with everybody, and the dynamic switch has really opened everything,” Botsford said. “Going back, I love Ben Harper; I love Jon Butler Trio. I love bands that just get you moving, or have just something soulful about them — their lyrics, their connection.”