If, lyrically, Fiction Plane's second full-length, Left Side of the Brain, covers themes as varied as the anguishing death of a loved one, war and nepotism, musically the disc marks the group's rebirth, or rather, the rise of a whole new band.
Produced by Paul Corkett (Radiohead, Björk, Tori Amos), it is the formal debut of the band as a three piece-Joe Sumner on bass and vocals, Seton Daunt on guitar and Pete Wilhoit on drums-and the first release since keyboardist/bassist Dan Brown bowed out of the group to raise a family.
While going from a quartet to a trio is definitely a rare move-many bands would take the opportunity to balloon, rather than shrink-in so doing Fiction Plane has birthed its inner rock god. While there are fewer instruments and more space in the band's songs, the group sounds larger and heavier on Left Side of the Brain, as the disc finds Daunt genuinely delving into the role of a soloist for the first time. "In a way, this album is about us letting it all hang out," he says. "It's a bit more bold and obnoxious, guitar wise. It's louder and prouder." "It's sort of a coming out party for us," says Wilhoit. "We sort of unleashed the animal within."
Left Side of the Brain is Fiction Plane's debut for Bieler Bros. Records, founded by Jason and Aaron Bieler, early industry supporters of the band, who were actually involved in recording some of the band's earlier demos. "It's definitely our most honest work," says Daunt. "It was really done live with minimum overdubs, and it's definitely much more rough around the edges. There are very fat sounds, massive drums sounds." Says Wilhoit: "We're a smaller band with less constraint, so it actually sounds bigger. We kind of let loose and use a lot of dynamics."
After a long period of inactivity, regrouping as a trio and recording Left Side of the Brain was like going "Zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds," says Wilhoit.
In a word, the new record and line-up are quite simple "good," says Sumner: "It's good," he says, laughing, at his inability to pick a better word. "It's the closest we've ever been to what we want to be. We're just ready to destroy and work as hard as we possibly can."