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Spooky Cool’s Unusual Mix of Styles Goes Against Pop Conventions



When it comes to gaining an audience, Spooky Cool plays it cool.

“No recordings. No social media,” singer and guitarist Zac Hryciak says. “We wanted to just play shows and build our reputation that way.”

Judging by the crowds at performances, it’s working.

As for its sound: Imagine if the angular, almost experimental indie-rock group Deerhoof sat down to write a record inspired by lush Beach Boys harmonies and you might get an idea of what to expect. The group — composed of Hryciak, drummer Lee Spratley, guitarist Richard Bollinger, bassist Sean T. Williams and vocalist Paula Lucy — writes pop songs that can shift from quaint ballads to interstellar prog-rock anthems.

After the abrupt end of his former band, Zac Hryciak and the Jungle Beat, Hryciak started writing again. With his tinkering nature, you could call him a sound-collage artist.

“I started doing what I typically do,” Hryciak says, “which is write a bunch of parts and figure out how to fit them all into the larger arrangement.”

With three-fifths of Spooky Cool hailing from the Jungle Beat days, Spratley and Williams were quick to push Hryciak to engage new musical ideas for this new project.

“I remember encouraging Zac to tap into other styles of music,” Spratley says. “Whether that’s classical or punk rock, there’s always some residual effect that follows.”

Between playing shows across town with the likes of Lucy Dacus, Night Idea and others, the band has been hard at work recording.

Engineer Michael Satterfield’s history with the group made him an ideal candidate to work with the band. “Michael is like family and he understands our approach and process for recording anything,” Hryciak says.

Satterfield also seems excited to be working with Spooky Cool.

“The band has this unique ability to sneak in really memorable rhythmic and harmonic ideas in very unconventional ways,” Satterfield says. “It goes against pop form, and the fact that it’s difficult to describe is probably why I am immediately drawn to it.”

The initial goal for the group is to record and release an album and follow with another as soon as it can. The yet-to-be titled release will feature five songs that fans should be able to quickly identify. The group’s in the process of releasing the record through a regional label in October — if everything goes according to plan.

“Sometimes, I envision songs as paintings and how when you’re in the process of writing and eventually recording, you wonder if a different color choice could alter the whole composition,” Hryciak says. “It might take us a second to figure out what fits our first set of songs, but they’ll be out in the universe in good time.”

Spooky Cool plays the Broadberry on Friday, May 6, with Clair Morgan, Manatree and Way, Shape or Form.


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