After two albums and an EP on Southern Records, Chicago’s Atombombpocketknife returns with Lack and Pattern on guitarist Justin Sinkovich’s [Thumbnail, Epitonic.com, BetterPropaganda.com] own File Thirteen Records. Two years since God Save the ABPK, the band is reintroduced with a more evolved sound, building on noisy rock reconstructions with a deeper focus on composition, melody, and production.
Lack and Pattern was tracked with Jeremy Lemos [U.S. MAPLE, SMOG, STEREOLAB] at Semaphore Studio, overdubbed at Sinkovich’s 32-track studio, and mixed with Brian Deck [RED RED MEAT, CALIFONE, MODEST MOUSE] at Engine Studios. Atombombpocketknife’s sound has evolved due to the new recording capabilities alone, but more significantly due to new drummer Tony Lazzara’s [Sterling] distinct playing and compositional theories. Guitarist Che Arthur played an “icing on cake” role on God Save The ABPK, having just joined the band, but on Lack and Pattern, Che’s writing adds a new dimension. Bassist Allison Hollihan has made new contributions by adding vocals to her repertoire throughout the new album. All of these changes result in more natural and collaborative structures, and more expansive arrangements. The ability to work at Sinkovich’s studio provided the element of uncompromising production, and the extraneous circumstances surrounding the creation of the album dictated an unprecedented dark mood.
Immediately after touring through a post-9/11 U.S. in support of God Save the ABPK, former drummer Matt Espy quit citing relief from the stresses of the band. Simultaneously, Sinkovich and Hollihan ended a four-year romantic relationship. Meanwhile Che continued his exhausting tours as an artist and soundperson, spending months on the road with bands like Black Heart Procession, Trans Am, Jets to Brazil, and The For Carnation. Atombombpocketknife let dust settle, and decided to rebuild. They recruited Lazzara to play drums and three weeks later played a show with friends The Hot Snakes. Shortly thereafter, the writing for Lack and Pattern began.
The ABPK had a majority of the album written when they embarked on a winter 2003 tour of Europe. After their return to Chicago, they began nine months of work on Lack and Pattern. At one point, Sinkovich’s home studio was christened by over a foot of water, which flooded the space and the band’s equipment. (Incidentally, the event inspired track five, “Flood.”) The ABPK completed tracking of the new album while members of the band were engaged in other projects: Lazzara’s Sterling released their second album on File 13, occasionally recruiting Sinkovich on bass, while Che released his solo debut on Flameshovel Records.