Sometimes, the road can actually feel like home for a band. It's only natural as the bulk of a musician's time is spent traversing the globe and playing countless cities in something of a whirlwind. Within that flurry, you'll come across some genuine characters. In turn, they become a part of your story, enriching it with their own quirks and nuances. Vanna singer Davey Muise likes to think of those folks as The Few and the Far Between.
In addition to serving as the title for the group's fourth album and sophomore full-length for Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie, the phrase holds very a special significance for the vocalist.
"All of those people who have affected our lives on the road are The Few and the Far Between," he explains. "They make us who we are. We joke around that we wish we could compile all of them in one city and live there forever."
Instead of building a colony together, those denizens of the road served as a thematic inspiration for the Vanna's latest album. In the midst of 2012's marathon tour cycle, the band began laying down ideas for what would eventually become their next offering. Adding a mobile rig to their bus, the quintet—Muise, Joel Pastuszak [lead guitar, clean vocals], Nick Lambert [guitar], Shawn Marquis [bass], and Eric "Rabbit" Gross [drums]—tirelessly wrote and demoed while touring.
Coming back home to Boston in November, they retreated to a vacation house in sleepy Cape Cod Massachusetts to spend a week on pre-production in isolation.
"We got a bunch of groceries and locked ourselves away in this house," he recalls. "The beach was pretty much abandoned because everybody had left after summer. The album was born on the road, and we really fine-tuned everything during that one week."
Armed with an arsenal of songs, they recorded at Boston's Getaway Studios with producer Jay Maas, who helmed their first release for Artery Recordings, 2010's The Honest Hearts EP. In less than a month, The Few and the Far Between had come to life with claws out and teeth sharpened.
Fusing together bloodthirsty vocal delivery with succinct and striking riffing, Vanna temper post-hardcore intensity with a rock 'n' roll gallop, charging down their own lane. The first single, "Year of the Rat", volleys between Muise's lyrical reflection and volatile rhythms. It's the best way to meet The Few and the Far Between.
"That song is about feeling like you have no direction," he reveals. "I was really confused during my early twenties. As you get older, things start to make a little more sense. I'm 28 now. I got married last year, and things really came together for me. I feel like I know who I am, but it took years of being incomplete. There's an idea that people die every five years. This is about the year I died and was reborn. In 2012, I became a completely different person and changed for the better."
Heavy music is rarely this ponderous. Elsewhere, "A Thin Place" rails against religion with a pummeling groove and vitriolic lyrics like, "Hey God, it's me again. What have you done? Where the fuck have you been?"
Meanwhile, "Please Stay" ruminates on being away from home with a choir of voices including hometown friends Rachel Quarell and Adam Toomey. Former Scars of Tomorrow singer Mike Milford adds a bit of brutality to "The Dreamer/The Thief/The Relic" and Ethan Harrison of Great American Ghost lends his voice to "I Said I'm Fine".
Still, this is very much Vanna at their most unbridled and unrestrained. "It's definitely a throwback to what started this whole thing," Muise continues. "It's fast, heavy, and fun. It's the record I feel like we've been trying to write for years. If you're going to get into Vanna on any album, this is the one. We're five guys who believe in this wholeheartedly."
That "belief" has been evident since day one though. In 2011, they unleashed the concept-driven And They Came Baring Bones. The record debuted at #8 on the Billboard New Artist Chart and #22 on the Hard Music Chart. Critical praise poured in from the likes of Alternative Press and AbsolutePunk. To date, they've sold in excess of 60,000 albums and performed on Warped Tour and alongside the likes of Every Time I Die.
Ultimately, everyone is welcome to be a part of The Few and the Far Between. "We don't have fans," concludes Muise. "We have friends. We love what we do and want people to experience it with us. We're all struggling going through the same shit together. No one is truly alone."