J. Roddy Walston & The Business have melded engaging, melodic songwriting with sharp observations about American culture on ‘Destroyers Of The Soft Life’, their new album is set for release on ATO Records. ‘Destroyers of the Soft Life’ began two years ago when Rod Walston (lead singer / guitarist / piano), Billy Gordon (guitar), Logan Davis (bass) and Steve Colmus (drums) purchased space in a Richmond, Virigina WWII era bomb shelter turned lumber yard. The foursome gutted and subsequently spent seven months transforming it into their own recording studio. As they put down roots Walston also became a father for the first time, inspiring lyrics that take an unflinching look at family dynamics and parental motivations.
Heading into 'Destroyers of the Soft Life', the fourth LP by J. Roddy Walston and The Business, JRWATB pursued a brighter, more nuanced sound that teased out the band’s latent pop sensibilities without skimping on energy or attitude. As you press play on the opening track “You Know Me Better”, anthemic guitars scream out of buoyant, hooky lyrics as Walston’s chugging piano supplies a persistent heartbeat. The “bar band” sound of the past has been replaced by an aspirational, booming cacophony that could fill stadiums.
Instead of the raucous bombast JRWATB manifested on their breakout hit album Essential Tremors, the band’s leader had certain rules he was determined to follow on Destroyers of the Soft Life. One was: “Speak/sing clearly, no hiding behind mumbles.” Another was, “D.I.Y. but hi-fi — record ourselves as much as possible but have it sound amazing and full.” The final, most important, rule was, “Nostalgia is a cancer — acknowledge that you are in the present.”
The album’s lead track “The Wanting” speaks to a fractured father-son relationship: “Walston and the Business smooth out some of their scruffier tendencies on ‘The Wanting,’ resulting in a cleaner, anthem-friendly approach with big, booming refrains reminiscent of Kings of Leon,” - said Rolling Stone.
“We had never been a band where we pretended that it’s 1965,” Walston said. “Loud rock and roll music has become less relevant because it’s just been on a loop,” he says. “If there was any rule on this record, it was, let’s be a part of music right now. I want to be part of living music in this moment.”