One of the more labor-intensive ways to record an album involves having each musician record his or her instrument separately, guided only by a temporary guitar track. That’s just how the members of Paddy the Wanderer recorded The Neighbors Are Listening, a full-length album that comes on the heels of a handful of EPs.
The process took about six weeks, but guitarists/vocalist Joey Troupe, who fronts the band, says it was worth it. “Coming into this, I did not like recording,” he admits. “It was my least favorite part, up until this point, of being in a band. I think it was the comfort of being in our own homes and not having the pressure of studio time on the clock [that] really helped us to put out a product that we’re proud of.”
Together for three years, Paddy the Wanderer’s earlier releases leaned toward the classic pop-song formula: keeping songs under three minutes on average. The nine tracks on The Neighbors Are Watching, with few exceptions, go to the five-minute mark or beyond. “It Won’t Be Long,” title aside, is a nine-minute, four-part suite that offers the band’s own take on The Beatles’ Abbey Road medley. The members use the time to their advantage, though. The overdriven groove of “Battle Cry” sustains momentum, boosted in part by a keyboard riff inspired by ’80s-cartoon theme songs, according to Troupe. “Can’t Help Yourself” proves the band hasn’t forsaken brevity, as it cranks out its thunder in a concise 2:29 blast.
Mood-shifts between songs might mean the band doesn’t have a distinct style, but Troupe likes it that way. “At a show, we don’t want it to sound like 30 minutes of the same thing. We want it to be distinct and maintain people’s interest,” he says.
Named for an Airedale terrier that greeted people on the docks of New Zealand in the 1920s and ’30s, the group celebrates the release of its album on June 3 as part of the monthly First Fridays event.