- Photo: Harrison Lilley
- The Affordable Floors at the WXXP Reunion Show at Stage AE
For its first new music in 23 years, The Affordable Floors reverted to the past. Its new EP Every Broken Heart Will Mend is cut from the same cloth as Drumming on the Walls and The Sounding, albums that made The Floors one of Pittsburgh's most popular — and accomplished — bands in the 1990s.
But instead of sounding dated, the five songs of Every Broken Heart Will Mend brim with vitality and vigor that transcends time and place.
“When we were playing together constantly, we were always adding new music,” says keyboardist Kirk Botula. “That's sort of what motivates you.”
The Floors — whose full-time members include Botula, lead singer and keyboardist Harvey Coblin, guitarist Jeff Babcock, and drummer Ken Zenkevich — recently appeared at the WXXP Reunion show on the day after Thanksgiving at Stage AE. These yearly shows, curated by Rod Schwartz of the 11th Hour, have become an annual gathering for the musicians and fans that played Graffiti in North Oakland, and other clubs, two decades ago.
Coblin, while enthusiastic about the performances, wanted more.
Thus the impetus for Every Broken Heart Will Mend. Botula, the band's principal songwriter, starts from the idea that, “90 percent of anything is going to be terrible. I have very low expectations of what I'm doing, so I just do lots of it.” From huge batches of song sketches, he culls them to a workable few, then sends to Coblin “who enters into songs makes them his own,” Botula says. “That, I think, resonates with people.”
“I think we got better this time at leaving more space for one another,” Coblin adds.
Working remotely, The Floors gradually shaped the songs. Botula says one of the joys of working with the band is the element of surprise. He's always amazed by what Babcock, Coblin, and Zenkevich add to his first versions.
But there's one misnomer about The Affordable Floors that's existed since the band's inception.
“When we were young, people would say you're a keyboard band, and I'd say, 'no, we're a drum band,'” Botula says, noting Zenkevich's importance to the sound. “We've always used a visual logo of a field drum. The rhythm has always been super important.”
Every Broken Heart Will Mend is available at www.theaffordablefloors.com.