Since 2013, Portland's Three For Silver have been delighting us with their mix of seemingly incongruent sounds—furiously paced string plucking against a throaty accordion; the Tom Waits-esque rasp of Lucas Warford mixed with the strong-yet-delicate vocals of Willo Sertain. Their aesthetic of buskers-meets-chamber ensemble is theirs alone (largely the product of string master Greg Allison's arranging), and it's a precarious balance, to be sure. Fortunately, the band have enlisted the help of an engineer who respects and honors their vision: Adam Lansky, a professional known for his penchant for "field recording," who goes outside of sterile studios to capture untamed sounds and artistic intent.
One thing that's been a common thread through most of their music, though, is the influence of literature on their lyrics. "Almost all of my songs are inspired by writers, their tone and style, or little phrases that tweak the ear," Warford says. On the group's forthcoming The Way We Burn (due out September 1 on Foggy Night Records), several tracks reference classic works, ranging from literary fiction to philosophy and religion. For "This Time Tomorrow," Warford says, "The line I had been sitting on for a while was 'the saints are gonna thank us for makin' them look so good,' which was inspired by Alan Watts' Myth and Ritual in Christianity. Watts writes about how dependent saints are on sinners, and how the whole dichotomy is absurd."
Introducing his own curious dichotomy, Warford states some lyrics were also inspired by something a little less heavy: "An episode of Good Eats I watched about making punch." In fact, the verses immediately following the Watts reference are a recipe for the classic libation. Other references pervade the song ("I could make a coffee table book out of the little Easter eggs," Warford claims) without weighing it down. The track moves along quickly, with alterations between simple strings and full, bombastic instrumentation; between guttural incantations and lilting verses. Yet, it never seems sloppy or mashed together: The result is crystallized and raw in its multiplicity of sounds.