By ROB DUGUAY When four musicians - two each from different bands - get together to make music, is it still a supergroup or has it become a "band sandwich"? This question has come to mind upon learning that guitarist Eric Swanson and drummer Aaron Bedard
When four musicians – two each from different bands – get together to make music, is it still a supergroup or has it become a “band sandwich”?
This question has come to mind upon learning that guitarist Eric Swanson and drummer Aaron Bedard from the Attleboro jam band The Stupid Robots and keyboardist Nick Parisi and bassist Burke White from the Providence alt-funk act Northeast Traffic came together to form Bean.
The band’s name is an amalgamation of each member’s first initial, and musically, it’s somewhat like that as well. A ton of progressions and grooves are present in the quartet’s sound, kind of what you’d expect if a jam band and a funk band combined their styles.
On April 1, Bean released their debut album, “Can O’,” via the Attleboro-based label Robot Records, and it’s an excellently complex assortment of tunes.
There’s a collaborative vibe within the album, and the fact that White, Swanson and Parisi each contribute vocals highlights that approach. There are also a variety of tones and structures within each track.
“Bean sprung out of the Robot Records collective as another creative outlet amongst friends,” Swanson says of the band’s origins. “Long nights of fast and loose jamming became the foundation for something we felt was a unique voice, mostly owed to the seemingly endless creative well of Nick and Burke. With the help of Robot Records owner and engineer Jon Sanders, we were able to see it in a bigger picture that got us really excited. It was an organic experience working together because we have become a tight-knit group through our other projects. To me, this record was a chance to show a different side of our musical personalities to folks who know us and those who don’t. I am proud of this record but even more so to be a part of this circle of musicians.”
“Bean is always aiming to have fun and to invite people to have fun with us,” Parisi, a Cranston native, adds. “We’re still sprouts, so ‘Can O’’ is a way for us to try a bunch of different styles and approaches to songwriting in the hopes of seeing what sticks. All that’s left is for people to have a taste and let us know what they like.”
Sanders’s role as producer influenced a lot of what happens within the album from an arrangement standpoint. He also provided a comfortable vibe in his studio, which enabled each member to express themselves freely.
“Without Jon Sanders at Robot Records we would not have been able to record this album,” White, who is originally from Warwick, talks about Sanders’ importance in the making of “Can O’. “I hope all who listen will recognize his importance in the creation of this project.”
Highlights within the album include “610,” “Haulin’,” “Bugs” and “Do It,” with the latter featuring Boston saxophonist Lee Ross. There’s a range of funk, jam, country and folk-rock that’s present in a majority of tracks. An abundance of rhythm is also present, which is the catalyst for the progressions that weave themselves within the music.
To check out “Can O’” for yourself, stream and purchase the album via Bean’s Bandcamp page, www.bean-band.bandcamp.com. Dive into some wonderful music that’s both expansive and inventive.