Communicating is a grand and ambitious album with an increased focus on composition that energizes more than ever before. At the same time it's more confidently experimental, unafraid to spike its pop hooks with noise, or build elaborate, fractal-like patterns out of vocalist Nicole Miglis's multitracked voice. The album follows the release of the LA-based trio's Currency EP as well as the continuing success of FORM Arcosanti, the festival they founded themselves and curate (headliners this year included James Blake, Solange, Father John Misty and Future Islands).
In the span between albums the band have traveled, separated, reunited, lost a band member, questioned relationships and strove to understand what it means to be together. At the core of the album is the relationship between Nicole and producer Trayer Tryon, which catalyzed the band in 2012. The album raises questions of romantic and non-romantic love, self-realization, growing apart, and finding understanding. To keep it close, the album was written and recorded largely at home (the trio have maintained a shared living space over the years, moving between different homes in L.A.). Nicole chose to cut herself off from the outside world and recorded herself in her closet. Tray produced at the kitchen table or wherever he could make room. When they needed extra space, they set up outside the walls for a bit (drums and piano were recorded in a converted Detroit church).
Where Communicating ultimately succeeds is on the most personal, intimate level. It's an album steeped in intense emotion at every turn, from the melodies to the rhythms to Miglis's dramatic vocal delivery. "From a broad lens," Miglis says, "the album is a breakup. It starts with a need for independence and it ends with an ‘all better,' like ‘we did it': we learned, we loved, we separated, and now it's time for the next chapter."