Standout Track: No. 6, “Spanish,” a rocker with energized guitars and a Cars-style keyboard riff on the chorus. Sam Bishop’s tenor threads through the dense soundscape, sounding like Morrissey’s evil twin as he mocks an aging pop star: “Is this eroding grace/What you had in mind?”
Musical Motivation: Bishop woke up one day with “You really missed the mark today,” which became the opening line of the song, in his mind. “I was feeling self-critical,” says the 36-year-old Columbia Heights resident. The song evolved into a critique of Elton John from the point of view of a devilish record executive, or perhaps the devil himself, says Bishop. “It’s someone applying pressure to try to get the last bit of value from anything that is the shell of its previous self,” he says. Bishop doesn’t call out Sir Elton by name, intentionally leaving the lyrics open-ended. However, Bishop says, the title alludes to one of the pop star’s early songs. (The departing friend in “Daniel” is flying to Spain.)
A Spaniard in the Works: The tune was initially more straightforward, but it was transformed in the studio with the help of engineer, mixer, and coproducer Alan Weatherhead at Richmond’s Sound of Music. “[‘Spanish’] turned out to be a lot bigger than we had initially imagined it to be,” says Bishop. “There are certain sections of the song that are pretty lush-sounding.” When Lejeune performs live, however, they don’t have the benefit of Weatherhead and his mixing board. “That is why we crank it way up,” says Bishop.