After five albums and countless tours, Finger Eleven have made their big rock record. It's loud, powerful and fast. It's the album they've waited their entire career to make.
Life Turns Electric is the sound of Finger Eleven's pedal to the proverbial metal. They fly past state troopers and speed traps. They barrel headlong into the future but take a scenic route through the dusty roads of the ‘70s to get there. There's nothing retro about it, but you can hear how they've inhaled the fumes of Classic Rock. This is the sound of a band blasting forward and having a blast while doing so. The guitars are back, the melodies are strong and instantly memorable, branding the lyrics on your brain the very first time you hear them.
"Some bands get confident and coast," says Scott. "They might put out the first 10 ideas they think of and that isn't what happened here." It's true. Finger Eleven grew confident through fan support and belief in their music and instead of coasting, they're simply more confident with their craft. On Life Turns Electric, that fact is clear. They didn't just put out the first ten jams they came up with – they put out ten of the best songs they've ever written.
Finger Eleven earned this confidence album by album, tour by tour and song by song. Since signing to Wind-Up records in 1998, the band have worked the road non-stop and released successful albums such as their debut Tip and its follow-up, The Greyest of Blue Skies. By the time they released their third, self-titled album, Finger Eleven had built a solid career. They didn't know that a little acoustic tune, written unassumingly under a tree somewhere, would be the one to crack the charts open and let them onto roads once closed to them. "One Thing," with its powerful chorus and acoustics, became a sensation.
The band's new success gave them the confidence to write Them vs You vs Me, the Gold-certified album that won Rock Album of the Year at the 2007 Junos. Them vs You vs Me was even more musically varied than Finger Eleven. Them vs You vs Me also featured "Paralyzer," a monster slab of backbone slide that became the band's biggest crossover hit. It's all funk and swagger with no best-before date, and it blasts out of car windows and club doors to this very day.
Their albums were going gold in the U.S., platinum in Canada. Their songs were on Guitar Hero and Rock Band and other video games and soundtracks. Finger Eleven's hits proved the band could be a hard rock band, an acoustic band, a funk rock band, all of these -or none of these. All they had to do was be true to themselves as Finger Eleven and both casual and hardcore fans would approve. They knew they were ready to make Life Turns Electric.
First, though, the band took some time apart to recharge - although Finger Eleven never shut down completely. Ideas continually evolve and revolve inside their heads. Eventually they brought their ideas to a cabin in the Canadian north to pull them out, lay them down and hammer them into properly righteous shape.
"When we're together, it's almost like we're a machine," says James. "Someone just drops a token in and everyone's gears start moving."
They emerged from the wilderness with their best batch of songs to date, and headed down to Wind-Up's own Quad Studios in New York City. They had something new in mind – a new attitude and a new method. After years in studios learning the ropes, they were ready to self-produce. They had honed their skills with home recordings and pitched in ideas with past producers. With the other band members at their side, Rick and James knew they could guide Finger Eleven through the making of their fifth album. They took their first test run with "Living In A Dream," the lead single with the mad groove and the crazy-memorable chorus. The result? A smash single already following "Paralyzer" up the Hot 100. "Living In A Dream" gave them the go-ahead to make the album they saw fit to make.
The band moved to New York City to live and breathe the music. The crackle and buzz of that city's streets is audible on Life Turns Electric. They turned up guitars and sped up the tempo; great songs with less juice were put aside for future use. Life Turns Electric was going to be about the rock.
"We chose to just rock this out," says Rick. "We concentrated on the chords and the melodies." New York helped them do that, supercharging the already-electrified grooves, powering the melodies, pushing the band forward.
"We'd leave the studio at night and go out to the Whiskey Rebel," explains Sean. "They had a juke box there, and the songs we picked were straight-up Classic Rock standards." It was here that the band tweaked just by talking about them, exchanging ideas at 3 a.m. It was just five guys, a juke box, and the excitement of talking about music. By the time they hit the studio the next day, they were ready to play with renewed energy.
"For younger bands, that red studio light going on can be frightening," says Rich. "For us, at this point, all the red light means is go."
As producers, Rick and James mediated the recording process, but through the sessions, everyone had their say. The sessions were a team effort, and the results were sifted through no filters, refracted through no prisms, and compromised by nothing. In an era when records are divided into ‘singles' and ‘the rest of it,' Life Turns Electric is the full package; the songs are even stronger side by side.
Life Turns Electric sounds exactly the way the band wanted it to sound – like pure, uncut Finger Eleven.