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Standout Track: No. 3, “Tear Down the Tents,” a relatively upbeat number that pays homage to such New Zealand jangle-pop bands as the Clean and the Bats. The lyrics conjure a life on the run: “Pack up our bags/Tear down the tents/Make our bed on the burning slats/This is a test on not looking back.”
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Musical Motivation: Twenty-eight-year-old singer/guitarist Ben Licciardi, who was born in Metairie, La., and now lives in Alexandria, says he wrote the song about Acadians who relocated from Canada to the bayou. “I got really interested in the idea of exile,” he explains. “What it must be like to be forced from your home, what sort of conflicted feelings you’d have, how you would move on without losing important parts of yourself.”
The theme, Licciardi says, is in keeping with a tribute to the Kiwis: “I’ve always loved how their melodies are really bright and happy but the lyrics and vocals are sometimes so heavy and earnest.” Although “Tents” was written well before last year’s hurricane season, it seems especially resonant after Katrina, which displaced thousands from Licciardi’s home region.
The Big Easy: The song ends with a jazzy little coda that features noodling on both guitar and toy megaphone. Producer Chad Clark captured it simply by leaving the tape rolling in the studio. “I don’t think any of us were really conscious of what was going on,” says guitarist Adrian Carroll. “It’s one of those things that gives listeners a different perspective of the band, kind of like a candid photo of someone.” Adds Licciardi, “We left it in there to lighten things up a little.”—Joe Warminsky