The members of The Wrecking, a Portland Maine based pop/rock band, are quietly re-defining what a purposeful, hard-working team can accomplish independently. Three years into their impressive run they have racked up over 500 live appearances, several charting singles, a rabid and growing on-line presence and critical acclaim from both mainstream and Christian music critics. On their second full-length release, So Much for Love (releasing August, 2012) the band has found their sweet spot; crafting songs that celebrate the purpose of struggle, the beauty of brokenness and the importance of justice. “Struggle has a purpose,” insists drummer Darren Elder. “We often have to be broken before we can be built.” The Wrecking contemplate the power of this simple truth through pop/rock songs honed to perfection by relentless touring, writing and studio work.
Whether intentional or not, this young band has already demolished several contemporary rock clichés. In an era of declining music sales and indie rock cacophony they have emerged as polished, purposeful, touring band that waits for no one. Their 2008 debut, A New Abolition and follow-up EP The Catalyst (2010) managed critical and commercial feats that would be the envy of any major label artist development team. Five charting singles, over fifty features and reviews in national press outlets, numerous four star reviews and hundreds of performances later The Wrecking are building an engaged following from coast to coast.
The set-up for So Much For Love, has been equally as impressive. The album’s lead single, “View from the Top,” is impacting at radio and through a contagious video that is racking up hundreds of views per week. “It’s a simple idea,” lead vocalist and guitarist Douglas Elder explains, “but people still need to hear it. It’s about getting above all of the things that hold us back or bring us down. It’s about the empowerment that comes from having a proper perspective on the struggles and brokenness of life.” That optimistic spirit led to a top-level synch placement and on-screen performance for the song in the acclaimed Showtime series The Big C. As a result the band’s online profile has exploded. Several additional Film and TV placements have already come in for that song and a second single and video (“About To Fall”) is generating significant buzz as well. All indications are that The Wrecking have a certified hit on their hands.
The Elder brothers, though excited about all of the recent hype, are focused on the task at hand. “We feel that our first record presented the sound of a band exploring who they may be,” Darren ponders. “That process is necessary and fun, but after three years of full time touring, writing and recording we know exactly who we are now, and where we want to go.” If recent activity is any indication, the answer to that last question may in fact be “everywhere.” The band has shown no regard for the supposed wall between faith-formed music and mainstream pop, generating fans on all sides of the spiritual fence. “We are absolutely unashamed of our Christian faith and we love playing at churches, leading worship and inspiring people to dig deeper into their spirituality,” Douglas adds, “but we are just as comfortable playing in a club or on a TV show. Maybe it’s because we have done this on our own, but it is really exciting to see that we now organically exist in both the mainstream and Christian markets.”
With musical references as diverse as Radiohead, Jimmy Eat World, The Daylights and Onerepublic, the band has crafted a brand of instantly accessible, irresistibly melodic and relentlessly truthful modern pop that dares to matter. The persistently relevant spirituality and artistically inventive legacy of U2 serves as a touchstone for this young band. In addition to dialing in their own brand of uplifting, challenging music that is 100% authentic to their own lives and creative urges, they have devoted themselves to the growing abolitionist movement that strives to release people from the bondage of modern-day slavery and human trafficking. “It’s appalling that there are more slaves in captivity right now – something in the order of thirty million worldwide – than at any point in history,” Douglas Elder insists. This urge to bring people freedom has led them to engage fully in the work of the International Justice Mission, Love 146, Childvoice International and Not For Sale, a new anti-slavery organization that The Wrecking has represented on the road over the last two years. “The team at Not For Sale are our heroes,” Douglas insists. “They are the very definition of smart activists. They are at the forefront of attacking modern day slavery on every level and are creating lasting change by successful striking this evil at its root.” The band’s passion for the work of Not For Sale and other social justice organizations has tangibly influenced their live shows, their off-stage conversations with fans, their personal free time and more noticeably than ever, their songwriting. “This may very well be the defining issue of our generation,” Douglas adds. “With whatever platform we have we must be a voice for the voiceless. Our faith demands that we do what we can to speak truth to power.”
The Elders and the other band members, Karl Anderson (keyboards/bass/vocals) and Chris James (guitar,) realize that while their spiritual and social justice passions are strong, none of it matters if their music doesn’t speak loudly. The band played over 150 shows in the last year and spent hundreds of hours writing, re-writing, tweaking and perfecting a massive amount of music that was eventually distilled down to the fourteen that comprise So Much for Love. “We probably sketched over seventy songs before landing on the ones that became this album,” Darren Elder explains. “When we were not on the road we were in my studio dreaming this all up.” With the production assistance of Dustin Burnett (Newsboys, Augustana, Throwing Gravity, Jimmy Needham) and mastering by Adam Ayan (Nirvana, Madonna, Foo Fighters, Carrie Underwood, The Rolling Stones) their enormous effort has truly paid off. The band can’t wait to unveil So Much For Love.
In the meantime The Wrecking will be back out on the road doing what they do best. Although they are certainly willing to consider partnering with any music industry elements that share their vision, passion and commitment to excellence, they now realize that they lack absolutely nothing as indies. “If a record label or publisher caught the vision for what we do and were committed to helping us accomplish our goals we would certainly entertain that opportunity,” Elder explains. “But we’re not really focused on that right now. We know what we need to do and it seems we’ve become pretty successful at getting it done.” Grammy nominated musician and producer Mark Nash, himself a veteran of a decade long major label career, recognizes the unique passion, skill and work ethic of The Wrecking and has invested himself in their work as a trusted advisor and confidant. “I’m sure industry elements will come calling,” he insists, “but it’s great to see that these guys are perfectly capable of taking matters into their own hands. I feel like I’m watching a little bit of the future of the music industry as I see them go from strength to strength on their own. It’s really inspiring.”