There Is No Road
- Artist: Gladiola
- Format: CD
- Release Date:1/8/2008
There is No Road, Gladiola's second album, leads off with "Lost and Found," a fuzz-drenched epic about waking up to a splitting political hangover, and moves forward through tales about the secret lives of parents ("The Story is Your Name"), curdled privilege ("The Golfer"), and frat-house hazing as a global export ("Fantasy Football"). Held together by devotion to melody and a sharp lyrical eye, There is No Road's ten tracks are a collection of dream-like soundscapes and charging underground anthems. Though it draws it's title from far weightier stuff - a Beverly Daniel-Tatum quote about the ongoing pursuit of equality in the U.S. - "There is no road" could also describe the creation of the album itself. Recording sessions covered a ten-month span, a time period in which the first recording studio was leveled to make way for luxury condos, drummer Gary Vitagliano moved to Ireland, singer/guitarist Bill Madden-Fuoco finished one masters program (education policy) and started another (teaching), and his wife, singer Jess Madden-Fuoco, finished a masters (education leadership). The couple also conceived a baby. The album's story begins in 2006, when Vitagliano, of the New Haven, CT, Vitaglianos, informed the band that he and Susan, his Irish bride, were planning a move to Dublin. The announcement spurred Gladiola to start a new record before the drummer emigrated. The band (rounded out by bass player Chris Regalia) returned to Woolly Mammoth Sound in Boston to work with producer/engineer David Minehan, who also helmed the band's first album, Let the Notes Go Free (2004). A sense of urgency fueled the proceedings, with both a trans-Atlantic flight and a wrecking ball looming; the building that housed Woolly Mammoth - along with dozens of rehearsal spaces, two recording studios, and various record label and fanzine offices - had recently been sold and was slated for demolition. Despite coinciding with Bill's grad-school exam period, Gladiola managed to complete basic tracks during Woolly's last days. "It was eerie," Bill recalls. "A place that was once a hive of Boston rock activity had emptied. A lot of Heart of Darkness jokes." The displaced Minehan reopened Woolly Mammoth a couple months later in Waltham, MA, and Gladiola bear the distinction of being the band to turn out the lights at the original site and christen the new digs. "Dave is by far the most supportive person with whom I've ever recorded," says Bill of the veteran producer and leader of the recently revived seminal Boston band The Neighborhoods. Gladiola attacked vocals, overdubs, and mixing on sporadic days when Bill and Jess's academic schedule would allow. As the sessions finally came to a close, the couple learned that a baby was on the way. The band continued to play shows, but modified it's rehearsals. "We did a lot of research, but there's very little information out there about loud music and potential damage to an unborn baby's hearing," Bill says. Jess, an assistant principal at a Boston Public High School, sat out most full-band rehearsals, and new drummer David Mohs switched from sticks to brushes when Jess attended. "I wrapped a yoga mat around my stomach for insulation at a couple rehearsals," Jess recalls. In August 2007, Jess and Bill welcomed their daughter into the world. The baby's hearing ability is excellent. Indeed, major life events are intertwined with the band's history. During the summer of 2002, Gladiola had just formed (the original lineup featured Chris, Bill, and Gary, as well as Eric Shepherd on second guitar and Bill's brother, Tim Madden, on keyboards and electronics) and was rehearsing to record what would become their first album, Let the Notes Go Free. Jess, though not a member, hijacked the band to back her at her and Bill's wedding reception. And so, on August 17, 2002, hours after the two became the Madden-Fuocos, Jess sang Beatles, Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper songs in full bridal regalia to a stunned audience of wedding guests. Her first-ever rock performance. The wedding gig's success and Jess's exposure to the thrill of feeling concussive kick drum gusts on the back of her legs while bass notes buzzed in her stomach soon led to her membership in Gladiola. Gladiola self-released Let the Notes Go Free in 2004. The idea behind the album, a batch of songs Bill had written since his old band, Resolve, called it quits after a decade-plus, was to bunt, do something small. Just a cozy collection of songs that attempted not to grab a listener by the throat, but rather to make a good companion on a long drive. Something jangly, Fenders with some electronic glue, steady but not rushed. Something that played like Murmur or a Vulgar Boatmen album. Upon it's release, The Boston Globe called Gladiola "very appealing, clever pop-rock noisemakers," and The Noise implored readers to "Please get this." Commercial and college radio stations transmitted Let the Notes Go Free over Boston frequencies. Gladiola's familial dimension recently expanded with the addition of Laura Fuoco, Jess's sister, on piano; Bill's brother, Tim, continues to contribute to Gladiola recordings. "Tim designs very cool electronic sounds that I think really elevate our songs," Bill says. "He's kind of our secret weapon in the studio." Gladiola will release There is No Road on April 15, 2008. -December, 2007.
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