In the spring of 2016 the band decamped to a remote part of Michigan, nesting near the evocatively named Mystic Lake, and spent a week uprooting former approaches and reinventing their sound anew. Moving into more improvisational territory, they wrote quickly and from the hip, using repetitive chord structures to aid in spontaneous generation. Attracted to the session’s spacious arrangements and unaffected sounds, they immediately went into the studio to capture the material. Working for the first time outside of home recording settings with engineer Bill Skibbe and longtime friend and collaborator Shelley Salant, the experience allowed for a focused concentration on bringing the intrinsic spirit of the group to the surface. Opting for spontaneity and simplicity over the exploration of layers and textures that defined the first record, the band architected an incredibly intimate sound for these new songs.
The album was tracked with minimal overdubs or production flourishes, constructing a frame that is spare and understated in the same way as the twilight-tinted third Velvet Underground album or the rusty glow of Bill Fay’s Time Of Last Persecution. These sessions aimed to capture the band at their essence. With the superfluous stripped away, a gentle but steadfast spiritual core is revealed as the backbone of Bonny Doon’s cosmic American music.