Something completely different: It is one thing to talk about striving to be different and original. Many artists from the hopelessly obscure to the obnoxiously famous are good at that. It’s another thing to really be different, especially in some of the quieter corners of the world, where what you do can’t be easily defined by a format or a catchphrase.
The trio I Was a Lover, Delorean Was a Dealer, however, make a pretty good case for being truly different. Mixing a grab-bag of 1980s post-punk with an anarchic edge that can only be 2007, they are slowly but surely making their rounds about town promoting their new EP My Window.
At first, My Window comes off as a major ’80s throwback. Chris Perez’s spare, synthesizer-based soundscapes on “Similar Holes” and “Planes in the Sea” are reminiscent of late period Joy Division, and Chris Bykowski’s guitar evokes a mix of Robert Smith and Radiohead. Beyond that, however, the band takes the proverbial plunge.
Most of that plunge is in Bykowski’s singing. You don’t hear any of that thick, third-rate Bowie-esque crooning or the staged dramatics you might otherwise hear on a project like this. His voice lies between a pissed-off Isaac Brock (not a huge stretch) or a very distressed David Byrne. In effect, it takes the cool detachment of the music and throws it out the window, almost like a sly joke on the whole goth thing.
The anti-goth: Even the band’s name, which evokes big-time pretension, seems to be another dig at the goth scene. When asked for the meaning behind the band’s name, I was expecting a quote from Lord Byron or a line from an old David Bowie song, but instead, Bykowski says, “It just sounded snappy”
Perez and Bykowski had been writing and playing music together for a number of years in many different genres until they more or less settled on I Was a Lover.
“We wanted to explore different things and bring something unique to the scene,” says Bykowski, who, like the other guys in the band, looks anything but “goth,” sporting a full beard and wearing nothing black or from Hot Topic.
No bass, no problem: They have no huge plans at the moment except to hone their sound by playing locally and in the Los Angeles area and working on new songs along with their new drummer, Justin Dempsey, formerly of the Return. They don’t have a set creative process, with one member showing up with the songs and the other guys playing along. “We’ll kind of have a basic idea and build on it,” Dempsey says.
What fires them all up is live performance, which, besides the music, “finds a physical outlet through the on-stage devastation of full-size organs, box-fans, and other common expendables,” according to their press kit.
“We all go crazy and kick shit over,” Dempsey says.
They also don’t have a bass player. According to the band, they tried auditioning a few bassists and have written bass parts for many of their songs. Instead, they seem to have settled on keyboardist Perez handling the low end. “Bottom line is we really don’t need one,” Bykowski says.