Back to the Roots: Physical Plant to release new album
Two years ago, the future of Physical Plant was uncertain. Now, the band is preparing to release its debut LP — showcasing some of its earliest music.
| 6:00 a.m. September 21, 2016
Arts + Culture
Two years ago, Josh Scheible wasn’t sure he still had a band.
He was one of three singers/songwriters, as well as guitarist, in the five-piece local psychedelic folk-rock band Physical Plant.
Since forming in 2010 at New College of Florida, the band, known for its eclectic songs, big, four-part vocal harmonies and cutting lead guitar lines, had gained a loyal live following and released two EPs.
In the summer of 2014, the members headed into the studio to begin recording their debut full-length LP.
But things wouldn’t be so simple.
That fall, Lake Elrod, the band’s founding member and principal songwriter, moved away. Shortly after, drummer Zach Eidelman followed suit, moving back to Fort Lauderdale.
Suddenly, the five-piece was a three-piece.
“We were a trio,” says Scheible. “With no drummer. We asked ourselves, ‘What’s the future of this band? Is there still a Physical Plant?’”
The album remained unfinished, but Scheible and singer/songwriter and keyboardist Caegan Quimby continued writing songs with bassist David Baker. And with the addition of drummer Ryan McCarthy last year, the band began performing again, debuting new music.
Now, the band is preparing to finally release the to-be-titled 11-track LP — two years later.
“This album is interesting,” says Scheible. “Some of the songs date back to our first few months together, but we’ve written so much music since then. It’s sort of a document to who we were as a band at the time. But it’s a living document, and we’ve breathed a lot of new life into it over the years.”
Quimby and Scheible say the circumstances surrounding the album’s release are representative of one of the band’s defining characteristics — flexibility.
“This band was never meant to be just one thing,” says Quimby. “That’s always been important to us. It was really evident when we had three active songwriters. We all balanced our different styles. Our newer songs are a lot different, but that’s part of what Physical Plant is.”
The band’s newer music is indicative of its evolution. Ryan McCarthy’s drum background is rooted in metal music, bringing a harder edge to the band’s traditionally folksy sound. And with more space to fill, the rhythm section plays a bigger role. Scheible describes the new sound as “acid funk.”
“The folk is gone,” he says with a laugh. “You won’t find an acoustic guitar within 10 miles of Physical Plant. It’s changed our live set a lot. It’s 45 minutes of high energy.”
The new album, set for a release this fall, might be older music, but Scheible says he’s happy to pay tribute to the earliest stages of the band’s continuing evolution.
“At one point, this album was going to be a document of what Physical Plant was,” he says. “It means so much that we’re still alive and going strong. I’m excited to give the people who supported us back then a permanent document of the band as it was. I’m also excited to give new fans context — this is where we came from.”