photo, from left to right: Adam Roberts, Alex Carlson, Alex Carlson
by Michael Todd
It's the moment before they are just about to kill each other. This is the scene Kwala sets in the band's album art for forthcoming Lovers and Quarrels, and it's a moment that took a timelapse video to capture. Time is irrelevant at a picnic, though, where it all takes place.
The song backdropping the backdrop-in-the-making, "The Astronomy Song," takes a wider shot pointed toward the sky and was, yes, inspired by astronomy class. As Adam Roberts, the band's more realist songwriting half, says about the cover, "Fire and brimstone will calm down into a more rational state where we realize we don’t actually want to kill each other."
The album is a big idea, with hopes to include members of the Omaha Symphony and maybe a brass quartet, all the while using as many other layers as possible to recreate the full analog sound of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. "The Astronomy Song" isn't a true representation of the band, Roberts says, but rather a bonus song, an upbeat extra, though it is in fact the first recorded music heard from the Omaha group.
With Roberts articulating the evils of the world, trying to write about the good side of the future, and his bandmate Alex Carlson writing about finding love in a world, it seems there is no limit to what Kwala hopes to cover. First a picnic, then the universe, right? To help the band achieve its full scope, Nik Carlson rounds out the three-piece playing bass, singing and sharing writing duties. It's all a sort of subsidiary of Roberts' mixed media production company, Cornelius B., too, which is still in the "building phases."
But don't doubt that Roberts and Kwala will keep reaching for loftier goals. It's just a walk in the park for now. Let's just hope they wear more clothes walking in that park than they do here, as they paint a big idea.
Michael Todd is Hear Nebraska's managing editor. He pines for a picnic with lemonade. Reach him at email@example.com.