Three years ago, Solid Gold was Minneapolis' "it" band. After a late 2008 release, the dreamy electro-rock trio's debut album "Bodies of Water" was simmering by the following summer. National media and industry folk were taking notice, and locally there was an air of "next big thing" around the boys.
Then the Solid Gold camp turned relatively quiet. Sure, there was 2010's "Synchronize" EP, but that year frontman Zach Coulter and guitarist Adam Hurlburt took a break to play in Gayngs and by 2011 it was starting to feel like the local darlings had hit the snooze bar on their anticipated sophomore LP.
Spurning the strike-while-the-iron's-hot adage, they weren't about to let the hype machine dictate when and how album No. 2 would unfurl.
"If that was the only thing important to us, we probably would've acted differently," said Coulter, shrugging off pressure to build on the buzz. "The fact that people like the music is amazing, the response was amazing. That will always be awesome for us. But at the same time we had to not pay that much attention to it."
The long-awaited follow-up, "Eat Your Young," which features Poliça's Drew Christopherson on drums, finally arrived in October, and a First Avenue gig Friday coincides with its vinyl release.
Don't mistake the lag time for lack of ambition. The new record hits on headier arrangements than its predecessor, stitched and layered with a nuance that intimates studio meticulousness. Without a label boss breathing down their necks, soft, self-imposed deadlines gave way to nitpicking.
"We had set a deadline of a spring release and we got our mixes in March and we all had a meltdown, because we were like, 'Is this really done?'" multi-instrumentalist Matt Locher said, sitting in the cozy studio beneath Coulter's northeast Minneapolis home.
This time around, the dance-rock thrusters are mostly at half-throttle, shedding some of the "sugary pop" elements (as Locher puts it) to delve deeper into the band's cerebral side. Wavy synth-psych number "All the Way Until It Stops" marks the album's trippiest terrain, feeling like a synthesized Flaming Lips acid ballad, while lush lead single "The Pendulum" (a late addition to the record) falls into Solid Gold's grandiose, electro-pop wheelhouse.
The Minneapolis favorites are reinvigorated by the more complex, synth-stunned songs and a live lineup consisting of local vets Jake and Jeremy Hanson. Never mind that it took them a while to open the band's next chapter.
"Some bands are really prolific," Locher said. "The Black Keys for instance, they could probably put out three records a year, [but] it's more like a collection of songs. Rather than someone like Meat Loaf, who is just going to put out one record every 25 years and it's like an opera [laughs]."
"[We're] like an indie Meat Loaf," Coulter cracked.
Let's hope the next album doesn't take a quarter-century.