Standout Track: No. 2, “Submarines,” a late-’90s-style scorcher filled with buzzy riffs and earnest vocals. Lead guitarist Gabriel Fry sings, applying his best emo tenor to lines like, “I am coming up for aaaaair.” Meanwhile, rhythm guitarist Gavin Dunaway—who usually sings—uses his time away from the mic to wail out some shreddy leads.
Musical Motivation: Before going indie-pop, several members of the Alphabetical Order did time in a local goth band, Conscious Structure. Some of that genre’s themes continue to color their music today. Although Fry wrote the lyrics and did most of the singing on “Submarines,” Dunaway felt he understood the song well enough to comment on its origins. “It’s about codependency, the fear of codependency,” he says. “There’s this great line where he talks about the other—the person he’s codependent on—actually strangling him.”
Sub Mission: Fry’s own explanation for “Submarines” is a little less dramatic. Like a lot of songwriters, he tends to start out scribbling ideas on bar napkins, and he says this tune was “pretty broad, just a bunch of images about personal relationships, the dichotomy of difficult vs. rewarding.” He adds: “I was thinking about the way a song is written. You have a feeling—or an idea about a feeling. You use metaphors, similes, you triangulate and fill in the gray area. If everything goes perfectly, you’ve expressed yourself.” The Alphabetical Order’s next attempt at triangulation onstage comes on April 30, when it plays at DC9.