Kent Band The Speedbumps Enjoy Bumpy Ride for New Album “When the Darkness Comes”

Photo by Kayla Todd

Sat 7/22 @ 8:30PM

Tired of breaking the tension, The Speedbumps decided to embrace the drama for its new album When the Darkness Comes.

For the better part of the last decade, the Kent-based act existed under the Americana umbrella playing its self-coined Midwest-cana genre of music. However, after a major lineup change, original members Erik Urycki (vocals, guitar) and Sam Kristoff (cello) added Danny Jenkins (drums/percussion), Kevin Martinez (bass) and Bethany Svoboda (keys, vocals) with the idea of starting anew.

“I feel like it’s our first album in some ways,” Urycki said. “We thought we were going to do this under a new name because of the lineup changes and the music is different in a lot of ways. We decided to stick with it because I guess it was comfortable.

“I don’t know. We had picked out a new name, new trademark, everything. We don’t really view the new album as a part of the other catalog.”

Just short of cringing is how Urycki seems to act when talking about the group’s earlier work, which he said lacked tension or drama. To change things up, the guitarist went electric on When the Darkness Comes. The result is a more dynamic affair with a lot of writing in minor keys.

Early on Urycki said the Speedbumps were influenced by a wide range of artists and styles including Ryan Adams, Air, Wilco and Blackalicious. While he confirms the band still cites those acts as influential, for When the Darkness Comes the group sought inspiration from different groups.

“Obviously, we were probably listening to too much Radiohead at the time, which is going to happen,” Urycki said. “But I was also listening to old Bob Dylan, Spoon, Father John Misty and even Tom Petty.”

The Speedbumps have booked a CD release show for Sat 7/22 at the Beachland Ballroom. Opening are Shivering Timbers. New songs that epitomize the album include the title track, as well as the lead single, “How You Get Down.”

“I talked about creating tension, but there’s a lot more beat to this, a lot more we don’t play behind the beat,” Urycki said. “We don’t have any kind of shuffle you find in Americana. None of that. It’s a lot of straightforward, almost like rock beats.

“Our drummer (Jenkins) comes from a punk world, so there’s a lot more like that deliberate hit the snare hard and be out in front. That’s big. Honestly, the drums are probably the biggest difference of everything. It really did change the record.”

The fact that Urycki and company considered a name change got us thinking the new monikers must have been along the lines of, say, the Traffic Cones or the Pavement Markers.

“No, man, I can’t say,” Urycki laughed. “There’s still a real possibility we might do that. The old Speedbumps from when we were like in high school and college, we’re not going to go back to that. I already feel it. That’s not the band we want to be in anymore, so there’s going to be a change or we’re going to wipe it clean.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we might use that name, so we’re going to keep that close to the vest for now.”

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