The bigger, the better

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After The Lost Revival's singer, Kevin Collins, greeted me for our interview, he called the rest of the band over to join us. Guys in ties and sunglasses kept shuffling toward us one after another until I was surrounded by a veritable flock of rockers.

Conventional wisdom suggests it's easier to keep your band small. You don't have to coordinate as many schedules for practice, gigs and tours, and you don't have to split the money as many ways. But this Columbus seven-piece is one of many up-and-coming acts that have foregone that mindset in favor of a different sort of wisdom: The bigger the band, the bigger the spectacle.

"It was initially just the three of us on stage, and it was kind of boring," said guitarist-pianist Daniel Kirschenbaum, who started The Lost Revival along with Collins and former synthesizer player Ben Peyton in 2005. When their house was burglarized, they replaced their stolen instruments with synths and a drum machine and set about blending folk rock with ambient and electronic sounds.

They've come a long way since then. The band has more than doubled its membership, refined its sound and developed a stage show captivating enough to earn a slot at CD101's Summerfest, where they'll kick off the festivities at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Lost Revival's evolution shows on debut Homemade Confetti, a full-length more fully realized than most. The band only spent a weekend recording with producer Jay Alton, but their record sounds expansive and complete.

"We did barely any overdubs of anything. We just recorded a live record," Collins said. "We wanted it to be kind of like a mix between OK Computer and Blonde on Blonde."

That's an ambitious combination, but it's more or less an accurate description of The Lost Revival's approach. Homemade Confetti is brimming with sounds, and the warm and folksy often coexist with the cold and spooky. Collins sings with gruff affectation, evoking a little Win Butler and a lot of Bob Dylan, as the band's bluster of guitars, keyboards and percussion swells behind him.

Of all the transformations this band has undergone, perhaps none has been more important than the decision to ditch the original name, Youngstown Tune-Up, the day before Homemade Confetti went to the manufacturing plant. "The Lost Revival" just sounds more dignified.

And it's more appropriate given Collins' fixation on religious themes, from the heresy celebration "Jesus Loves You" to the revelry tale "Jailbait," which the singer calls his take on Sodom and Gomorrah.

Collins might not take too kindly to orthodoxy, but his band performs with religious fervor, and they're looking forward to making many new converts this weekend - not to mention playing a stage they don't have to squeeze onto.