“When you first start playing shows, at least for us, we could only get dive bars [who wanted] us to play maybe three hours,” says Will Ingram, the singer and guitarist for local rock band Wieuca. “But we only had, like, five songs.
“Back in those days, we would sometimes play the set twice in the same show, without a break, because we didn’t have enough songs to play,” says Ingram. “We did some Ted Leo, some Truckers,” he continues. “‘This Charming Man,’” adds guitarist Jack O’Reilly, providing a cross-section of the band’s far-reaching influences and interests.
It’s a familiar origin story: Band books gig, band plays mix of originals and covers, band begins to take on a form of its own. For Wieuca, a group whose live show has always maintained a high level of curiosity, spectacle and excitement, this early stage proved integral in shaping its sophomore full-length, Guilt Complex.
“That’s one thing that’s actually unique about this album relative to our other releases,” says Ingram. “A lot of road testing, and a major evolution between demos and initial concepts, kind of put through the live filter.”
Aside from a few singles, the band’s last release was a self-titled EP in 2014, providing it plenty of time in the interim to hash out songs live before settling on final arrangements.
“We spent about 14 months on the album, kind of picking at it,“ says Ingram. “[We] tried to figure out a way to make the songs the most dynamic so that it impacts a live audience. It’s all about range on this one.”
“Dynamic” is an apt description. A smattering of shoegazey passages, alt-country fare and ’90s-tinged emo come together seamlessly across the album’s 11 songs, recorded and produced by the band in various houses over the years. The mashup sounds odd on paper, but Wieuca makes it work.
“[I]t offers a lot to take a bite out of, but it’s all done through the lens of our haphazard recording process and live performance. So, the consistency comes from that, regardless of whatever genres we’re trying to mash together,” says Ingram. “With this album, we tried to make a lot of different genres fuse together, but to not let them cancel out and create just a bland melting pot of one monotonous drone.”
The record’s scope reveals a band that’s broadened its palette, no doubt due to the ample time it spent throwing ideas against the wall to see what stuck. It makes sense, then, that the ideas and themes expressed in Ingram’s lyrics reflect growth and evolving ways of thinking.
“Basically, in terms of the subject matter and the tone of the album, it spans five years,” he says, “so it covers a lot of ground. There’s a lot of different interpersonal development that took place in the meantime… Almost every song on the album has to do with… longevity and the precious, finite nature of life. So, there’s a lot of talking about life within the context of death, death within the context of life, aging.”
The record’s title came from a similarly weighty place. “In my opinion, a ‘guilt complex’ is an apartment building [or] theme park where all your conflicting convictions co-habitate. It’s a metropolis of discord… your brain,” says Ingram.
“Was that on the spot?” asks O’Reilly.
“Yeah, that was off the dome,” Ingram replies with a smile.
With much still to unpack, a Guilt Complex release show is planned for Friday evening, which Ingram says will be “an intimate evening of sensual music—an experience as physical as it is emotional.”
“And better than The Hernies,” quips drummer Rob Smith.
WIEUCA Local band playing cheeky, guitar-driven indie rock. Album release show! See story on p. 10.
BIG MORGAN Local band that plays a rhythmic, high-energy brand of garage-rock.
FRUIT & FLOWERS Surfy psych-punk band from Brooklyn.
BREATHERS Synth-pop group from Atlanta.