With time comes experience, and in the three years since their third album, Heroes of Gravity, quaked across college radio, the Fletchers have added and reflected upon many of life’s ups and downs. Collective and individual, the experiences have made a home on the NJ-based indie band’s latest effort Reset the Dial, and the result is nothing short of poetry. Sometimes loud and raucous, at time cerebral and emotional, the album shows the boys have grown, but will never completely grow up.
You thought it was just right for you / You held it in your hands / But then it slipped right through / Always move on to something new / But novelty wears thin / Now what you gonna do – “Right for You”
The 12 tracks on Reset the Dial conjure some classic themes – love, loss, fear, isolation, restlessness, and starting over – all expressed with familiar optimism that frontman and guitarist Gary Kaplan frequently breathes into his lyrics. Musically, it delivers powerful, fuzz-laden melodies, lush vocal harmonies and impassioned verses, with the subtle influences of iconic artists such as Guided by Voice, early REM, J Mascis, and Bob Mould weaved throughout.
“We’ve been together as a band for almost eight years, and we’ve gone through a lot together and separately,” said Kaplan. “When we started writing this album, we were all very much in different places; we’ve faced significant changes with family, friends, and even jobs. Some of us have become parents for the first or second time. When you’re looking at those kinds of challenges and life changes, you sort of take stock in where you’ve come from and where you’re going. Through everything, the band has been a constant and we were still inspired to make an album and have it be something special. Reset the Dial is the result of all that we’ve been through.”
With releases each year since the band formed in 2008, The Fletchers’ first three albums were written and delivered with rapid urgency. For this fourth album, the band took a slow cooker approach – experiencing life changes and relishing the freedom to write and perform, and finally record and produce on their own terms. Band members Kaplan, Dan Coffey (bass and backing vocals), Rob Freda (guitar and backing vocals) and Cliff Heaton (drums and backing vocals) collaborated more on Reset the Dial than previous efforts, drawing from broader inspiration and experiences and offering some deeper influences and musical elements. When it came to committing songs to tape, Kaplan pursued along with co-producer and recording engineer Erik Kvortek.
Painted with brush strokes of British rock and American indie, tracks like “For the First Time” and “Perfect Daughter” cover subjects like pain and fear and letting go, while the title track deals with rising above a messy and hurtful relationship. The gifts that life offers through friends and family are deftly covered in tunes like “What You Want” and “All I Want is You,” and the reflection on early influence and reverence is found in a captivating cover of The Clash’s “London Calling.”
“Three years has offered the time to play and work out the songs that make up Reset the Dial, and over that time we’ve continued to develop as a band. I, for one, am a lot more confident,” said Kaplan. " There’s more range to the vocals, and overall more textured sound. We weren’t afraid to be too sweet. We weren’t afraid of being dark. We’ve really painted pictures that tell stories with these song, and we feel good about this chapter."