Anyone who believes that age in years is instrumental for a successful band hasn’t met California foursome A Cursive Memory. Formed while the members were still in 8th grade, ACM may not have the advantage of actual age, but their five-plus years of experience as a band has transformed them from a collection of four students churning out cover songs at friends’ birthday parties to a solid outfit that makes music with conscious intent and practice. Although the band wasn’t started with the objective of transforming a fun high school endeavor into a serious career path, things started rolling quickly in that direction by the time the members reached 10th grade and became the first addition to powerhouse media company Bunim Murray’s management roster thanks to the random profile jump tool on PureVolume.com.
So ACM spent their high school years penning songs, skipping class to join bands like Boys Like Girls and HelloGoodbye on the road and recording their debut album, Changes (2/19/08, Vagrant)- all between after school sports and homework. Changes, most of which was written between 11th and 12th grade and includes the first song the band ever wrote, “Piano Song,” was completed before the members of ACM ever graduated, recorded after school and on the weekends at a Santa Monica studio with producers Michael Suby and Dave Stone. A few months later and the band was signed with Vagrant the way most high school seniors are accepted into a choice college.
“Of course we wanted to do it as a career because we were young and really into music, but I don’t think we really knew we were going to actually do it until 10th grade when we signed with Bunim Murray,” says Colin. “They promised us a record deal out of high school and we got it with Vagrant. We had this opportunity that even the kids going to good schools would never have. It was way more of an opportunity than going to a great college or doing something interesting like that. We had to take it.”
Changes showcases the result of nearly five years of hard work and hundreds of hours spent in Shaun’s rehearsal space, revealing the natural achievement of the group’s unique, genuine sound that dances with ACM’s overwhelming sense of raucous energy and refusal to take themselves too seriously. With lyrics that written collectively by Colin and Shaun- something that makes ACM highly unique in their songwriting process- Changes jumps through a variety of styles and tones, always maintaining a catchy sensibility and infusing itself with undeniable hooks. The disc’s debut single, “Everything,” which Colin describes as a song “about anything that consumes you,” best exemplifies ACM’s skill with writing buoyant tracks that have both layered musically complex and pop catchiness, while songs like “Lions” and the compellingly emotive “Perfect Company” showcase light-hearted energy and honesty that define the band.
“Even though we take our music seriously, we never take ourselves too seriously,” Shaun says. “We take pride in our music and our sound, but music is meant to be fun and be something you can share with someone else. An element I love about our music is that it’s fun, upbeat, happy kind of stuff. We’re just really excited to get our music out there and see what changes are still in store for us.”