Locals: The Floorwalkers exhibit increased maturity on the long-simmering Kids, Are You Listening?

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

According to Floorwalkers' frontman Jonathan Vernon, the garage-soul collective's long-in-the-works new album, Kids, Are You Listening?, which includes songs that date all the way back to its 2010 debut, was delayed at least in part because "life happened."

"We had two weddings, and we've got two babies on the way - one due in May and one in June," said Vernon, 27, seated in a Clintonville coffee shop for an early April interview. "At first it was like, 'Can you wait 'til we get this record out to have kids?' But you can only take yourself so seriously saying that to a bandmate."

Many of the songs on Kids, Are You Listening? reflect this newly adult perspective. While Vernon describes the band's debut as "young and naïve" ("There was some hippy-ness there," he said, citing musical influences like the Grateful Dead and the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love"), there's a resoluteness to its latest, which bounds between heavy-hearted breakup songs and more optimistic cuts about clearing aside the wreckage and finding a fresh way forward. Witness "Beyond the Stars," a swooning ballad that opens with Vernon singing, "This is an ending, which starts something else."

"When I was growing up a lot of the songs were more narrative, I think, because that experience hadn't happened yet," said the singer, who joins his bandmates for a record release show at Skully's Music-Diner on Friday, April 17. "We couldn't find those heartbreak songs because we hadn't had our hearts broken. Now that life has happened a little bit, some of the songs start to take on truer meaning."

The same process of breaking and healing occurred within the band as well, with several members departing the fold to pursue new ventures, including a founding drummer and guitarist - shakeups that further delayed the recording sessions, which took place off-and-on beginning in 2012.

"It's been a rough three years in some ways, but getting this album out feels even sweeter than the last one, because we did everything on our own," said Vernon, who formed the Floorwalkers alongside core members Ben Meinhold (bass) and Theo Perry (guitar), in 2001, when the three Cleveland-area natives were just juniors in high school. "We'd get that question: 'What's taking so long?' And it's like, 'Have faith. It's coming for you.' We had so much to take care of, and so much planning to do … because we wanted to make sure this was more of a representation of exactly what we sound like. We wanted this one to sound like us."

Skully's Music-Diner

9 p.m. Friday, April 17

1151 N. High St., Short North


ALSO PLAYING: The Admirables