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Graveyard Club: Synth-Pop, Goth nostalgia and dreamy Surf-Rock / Preview

By. C. FRANCIS O'LEARY // Graveyard club is on its way to Alberta Street Pub with a new album on the way .

Imagine a group of disaffected teens escaping their problems and finding comfort in one another’s company in a coming of age movie. The music you’re imagining in the background is probably something like that of Graveyard Club. The Minneapolis-based group’s synth pop sound with elements of goth nostalgia and dreamy surf-rock are on display in their upcoming album, Goodnight Paradise, which is scheduled for release Friday, June 28. Before that, they’ll be performing at the Alberta Street Pub this Friday, June 14, as part of the West Coast leg of their Goodnight Paradise Tour.

Originally a duo, consisting of Matthew Schufman (vocals, synths) and Michael Wojtalewicz (guitar), Graveyard Club released its first six-song EP, Sleepwalk, in early 2014. The group cites as inspirations 80’s pop music and old sci-fi – both of which are immediately apparent when listening to the spooky tunes on the first EP.

After being introduced to Sleepwalk by a friend, Amanda Zimmerman (bass, vocals) and Cory Jacobs (drums) joined the band. Later that year, the four members released Graveyard Club’s first LP, the ten-song Nightingale. The additional two members added complexity and depth to the sounds. Schufman, the main songwriter, continued to explore the themes of the first offering. On the title track, he sings, “We’re all stuck in transition. We’re all prisoners of time.” This reflection on the limitations of life comes up again and again throughout their catalogue.

2016’s Cellar Door is when Graveyard Club hit the peak of their horror sound. “Lose My Vision” samples The Phantom of the Opera and “Summer 1928” would be at home in a Castlevania game. The album has the fullest sound of  the band’s yet released albums and the homages they pay to past eras does nothing to diminish the fact that this is certainly a Graveyard Club album, not an emulation of anyone or anything else.

June 28, with the release of Goodnight Paradise, fans are going to see what Graveyard Club truly is. Wojtalewicz says of the album, “I think we’re better at knowing our strengths and realizing what we wanted the band to be.” The album, mixed by Andy Thompson (Taylor Swift, jeremy messersmith), stays on theme lyrically, but instrumentally is dreamier and has more elements of contemporary pop than previously heard from the quartet. Fans looking forward to hearing the album ahead of its official release date can look forward to picking up a physical copy, either vinyl or CD, at the merch table during the upcoming tour. “It’s kind of a secret but not really, because fans can’t get them here [Minneapolis] yet,” Zimmerman said of the advanced physical copies.

The West Coast leg of the Goodnight Paradise Tour begins Wednesday, June 12, in Seattle. Though Graveyard Club has been road-testing a few of the songs from Goodnight Paradise for a while now, this tour will be the first time the band extensively plays music from the album. The band has also announced four shows in the Midwest and will soon be announcing more, including East Coast shows. “They’re definitely happening, they just aren’t announced yet,” Wojtalewicz reassures fans in those regions.

To acquaint yourself with Graveyard Club’s music before, begin with “Diamond City” from Cellar Door or “It Hurts,” one of the singles from Goodnight Paradise. Then, be sure to catch the band and pick up a copy of the new album Friday, June 14, at the Alberta Street Pub in Portland. Also playing will be Portland’s own Starover Blue, an experimental dream-pop group, and Pleasure Curses, a post-disco duo. Doors at 9, but be sure to get there early, as there are not presale tickets available for this show. $10.


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