Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden

Air Date: 02-26-14

For Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden, The Shape The Color The Feel is a sort of homecoming. But it’s also a leap into the great unknown.

Six years after their acclaimed debut, KT+SOS are back, bringing a sweeping, cinematic feel to their emotive, melodic rock. Mixing echoes of The National, Cocteau Twins, and early U2, The Shape The Color The Feel marks a bold new step for Tucker as both a singer and songwriter, as she moves effortlessly between intimate, soul-searching confessionals and soaring anthems for the open road.

Born into a family of long-haul truck drivers, Tucker has always had a sense of wanderlust. At twenty-one, she left her hometown of Akron, Ohio for Paris, France where she honed her performing skills busking on the cobblestone streets. From there, she headed to Seattle, where she met the musicians who would become the original Sons of Sweden. Their self-titled debut, produced by Ryan Hadlock (Metric, Blonde Redhead, The Lumineers) and released on Tucker’s own Red Valise label, became an online sensation, propelled to the top of numerous blog charts by the wistful single “Faster Than Cars Drive.” The song landed a spot on a more than one Starbucks compilation and was widely played on college radio. Songs from the album were featured on major television networks and film soundtracks, including Everything Went Down, the feature film that takes its title from that same Sons of Sweden track.

The next several years were tumultuous, as Tucker pursued a solo career and moved to New York and later to Nashville, where she was inspired to once again assemble a band. On their way into the studio with new songs in tow, they weren’t sure what to call themselves, but with the bittersweet blessing of her former bandmates in Seattle, the Sons of Sweden name was resurrected.

Produced by Konrad Snyder (Kopecky Family Band) and Jordan Lehning (Caitlin Rose) and recorded in Nashville, The Shape The Color The Feel will sound familiar to fans of the first Sons of Sweden album, but with a new landscape and a new lineup come unique new sounds. Echoes of The Boxer Rebellion, early Coldplay, and The Cardigans can be heard in Wes Chandler’s shimmering, widescreen guitar work, and the propulsive, modern-rock energy of drummer Ethan Place’s interplay with bassist Matthew Thompson makes for a record that feels very much alive. Original Sons of Sweden keyboardist Nic Danielson returns to give the songs their signature dream pop sparkle, with moody, atmospheric synths bringing down the lights.

Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden’s sound had often been described as “cinematic,” so Tucker decided to take that theme further with the new record and release each song with its own music video or short film. With that, The Shape The Color The Feel became an ambitious visual album with ten music videos by eight different directors, plus three short films, a documentary, and an art installation. To fund the project, Tucker and the Sons of Sweden raised over $21,000 from their fans via Kickstarter.

In a Huffington Post article on the project, Radley Balko writes: "The idea here is to bring the visual and conceptual components back to music. [...] But the real beauty of the project is that just as it seeks to recapture some of what music has lost to technology, it's utilizing the same technology to make that happen."

With the album’s release approaching and a visual exhibition to premiere this spring, Kate Tucker is thrilled to find herself surrounded by exactly the kind of artistic community she’s been searching for all along.

“There are so many people working on this project,” she says. “So many different genres of artists are involved. I feel like what it’s creating is this opportunity for people to collaborate outside of and beyond what we’re doing with the music. And it's finally starting to take shape.”

Download: Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden