Today is a great day to share the latest single from Bret Koontz & Truancy Club, called “Strange New Love.” In this great-sounding single, the band channels power pop groups like Chicago and The Carpenters with a modern twist to keep things interesting for newer audiences. The track comes from the band’s upcoming new LP A Sparkle Road Cult, that will be out everywhere music is sold on November 18th. I was also able to catch up with the band for a brief interview too.
With regard to this new release, where did everything start: conceptually, musically, and otherwise? And how does this release compare to your other projects?
After playing and touring in support of Low Light Trades, my solo album, I found myself with a lot of thematically cohesive new material that wanted to be brought to life in a large format band. So the band began as a recording project, with playing live being a secondary aspect that eventually became just as important. Low Light Trades saw me coming off a period of time where I had looked around at how sweetly sad and complicated my life had become and taken some time to appreciate it, kind of luxuriate in it. With a Sparkle Road Cult, I was beginning to turn my thoughts towards a more functional and radical future.
What made you choose “Strange New Love” as the LP’s first single, and what is its significance to you?
”Strange New Love” distills a lot of what we’re exploring with the band—the more baroque side of pop, the radical potential of vulnerability– it encapsulates a dark breeziness that’s pretty central to our sound. I started writing it in Chicago just before leaving for an extended solo tour and finished it on a porch in the middle of that tour. It was a very transitory, anticipatory time and the song captured that moment for me.
How did you go about translating it visually, and where did inspiration for the video come from?
I animated the music video during the pandemic when getting together for a live action shoot was still too dicey, mostly by rotoscoping over cell phone videos and then adding imagined elements. I wanted to use the video to emphasize the fact that the song is about something beyond romantic love. It’s more about a re-connection with the world around you. So the music video depicts a metaphysical and even paranormal connection: an underground musician has a close encounter of the fourth kind.