Local band Rococode want to take you on a journey.
There may be some twists and turns along the way. You may feel lost at times. But everything will be OK. Probably.
"It's indie pop-rock with dueling boy-girl vocals," says Laura Smith, describing the Rococode sound. "We've got keyboards and synthesizers and we like to make it a little bit tricky here and there, so it's not just straight ahead all the time. Sometimes it's really rocking and sometimes it's really sensitive."
Rococode is made up of Smith (vocals and keyboard), Andrew Braun (vocals and guitar) and Shaun Huberts (bass). The band formed in 2010 and put out their first album, Guns, Sex and Glory, in early 2011 with the help of producer Ryan Guldemond of the Vancouver indie band Mother Mother.
All three bandmates are seasoned musicians: Huberts has been a session player in Nashville and has played with Tegan and Sara. Smith and Braun worked together on a previous incarnation of the band and put out an album in 2008.
Smith and Braun met in Capilano University's music program, where Smith focused on vocal jazz. While she doesn't sing in that style now, she says having formal musical training makes it easier to write songs and to know when and how to push the envelope.
"I think it helps us have a little bit more interesting edge to what we're doing because we like to make things a bit weird," says Smith. "Adding in a few jazz elements can help."
Rococode songs smash synth-heavy tunes, by turns upbeat and haunting, together with lyrics about obsessive love and gleeful destruction. At first listen, many of the songs appear to be radio-friendly pop confections but often pack a hidden punch. "The song 'Empire' sounds like a love song," explains Smith. "But it's also about the danger of filling up with something like an empire that's too big, and how it could be toppling on the brink of crashing down."
Smith and Braun, who are also a couple, write many of the songs together, with Braun doing most of the arrangements.
"A lot of times one of us will get stuck," says Smith. "Andrew will say 'I need a melody for this,' and I'll say 'That's easy,' Or I'll be like, 'I can't figure out how the song should sound but I have all these great ideas, can you help me with that?'"
The songs on Guns, Sex and Glory were written over a five-year period, and Smith says she and Braun now feel like they've found a style of their own.
"We're in a groove and we know where we want to be, which is a really good place," says Smith. The pair spent much of June and July writing new songs, which are tending to be darker and heavier, both in terms of subject matter and musical style, says Smith.
Audiences at upcoming shows will get a taste of the new material. After a Canadawide tour in the spring, the band is set to go out on the road again in the fall, with tour dates in Canada and the United States. Closer to home, Rococode will perform at the Live at Squamish festival Aug. 25.