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A Way Out of the Ordinary

Adelyn Rose cements position in indie rock scene

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by Sam Clark photos by Andrea Paulseth

Adelyn Rose is multi-instrumentalist Hannah Hebl, drummer Dave Power, vocalist/guitarist Addie Strei, guitarist/engineer Jaime Hansen, and bassist Leo Strei.
Adelyn Rose is multi-instrumentalist Hannah Hebl, drummer Dave Power, vocalist/guitarist Addie Strei, guitarist/engineer Jaime Hansen, and bassist Leo Strei.

A persistent work ethic and a knack for networking skills, not to mention a bevy of musical talent, have helped to define Adelyn Rose as one of the preeminent indie rock bands in the Chippewa Valley. Since releasing their debut album, Mezzanine, in early 2012, the band has played countless shows around the country, expanding and contracting in membership as they settled into their own distinctive sound. After nearly two years of hard work and refinement, Adelyn Rose is ready to present their next contribution to the Wisconsin music scene; their sophomore album, Ordinary Fantasy, drops on Feb. 18.

At its core, Adelyn Rose has always been comprised of vocalist/guitarist Addie Strei and her brother Leo on bass, but a rotating cast of additional members helped to add different elements to the project. Pat Kuehn had a stint as the drummer in an early line-up, while Ian Jacoby and Paul Brandt took turns at the keyboards and even helped to write some of the material that appears on the new album. Once Dave Power sat down behind the drum kit, the present incarnation of Adelyn Rose really began to take shape; over the past year and a half they’ve also acquired multi-instrumentalist Hannah Hebl and guitarist Jaime Hansen, who handled engineering duties on Ordinary Fantasy.

The additional palates present on Ordinary Fantasy show a marked growth in Adelyn Rose’s style and musicianship, but they’re not so abstract in comparison to the band’s older material that long-time fans will feel lost and confused.

The songs across Ordinary Fantasy showcase a mature growth in songwriting, as the band has become more comfortable and tightly-knit. Much of the music is decidedly more rock-oriented than Adelyn Rose’s previous material, a fact Strei attributes to the growing roles of the other members of the band. “Dave was a bigger part of arranging on this album, so it got a bit more drum-heavy,” she says. “When I wrote the first album, I was listening mainly to Cat Stevens and other acoustic stuff, but for this record I started listening to more music like David Bazan and Land of Talk. So it’s a lot more electric.”

Certain instruments at the band’s disposal ultimately played a large part in defining the textures present on Ordinary Fantasy. “We bought an electric guitar, an Alesis (synthesizer), and a Wurlizter (electric piano), and so that really changed things,” Strei says. “I started writing songs and parts of songs with those instruments in mind.” The night she bought the Alesis, Strei returned home and wrote “Riot,” a slinking, dark song that appears early on in the track list and will soon have a music video to accompany it.

That dark, almost ominous trait present on “Riot” resonates throughout Ordinary Fantasy, and this is partially due to the contributions of Hansen, Adelyn Rose’s most recent acquisition. His guitar parts often lurk in the background of songs, as on “Power Ballad,” and both Strei and Power concede that they add a different element to the band’s sound. “They’re kind of like dark, Big Black guitar lines over really pretty songwriting,” Power says in describing the shoegaze quality that Hansen brings to the table. The additional palates present on Ordinary Fantasy show a marked growth in Adelyn Rose’s style and musicianship, but they’re not so abstract in comparison to the band’s older material that long-time fans will feel lost and confused. Rather, it’s a logical progression perfectly designed to both retain hard-earned interest and entice intrigued newcomers.

Adelyn Rose will self-release Ordinary Fantasy on CD and through their Bandcamp page on Feb. 18. The band will also play three shows that week in support of their new album: Thursday, Feb. 20 at the Glassworks Improv House; Friday, Feb. 21, at House of Rock with Softly, Dear and sloslylove; and Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis with the Farewell Circuit, BBGUN, and sloslylove. For more information, check out facebook.com/adelynrose.

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