Locals: History repeats itself, but not Dave Buker & the Historians

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

History might repeat itself, but Dave Buker & the Historians refuses to do the same.

"We want to keep doing different things and putting out albums … that still feel like us, but are interesting in a new way," said frontman Dave Buker, who joined drummer Joe Spurlock, both 29, for a late October interview at a Bexley coffee shop.

It's an approach that carried over into the songwriting for the Historians' new full-length, For Every Heartbreak, which will make up the backbone of its record release show at Brothers Drake Meadery on Friday, Nov. 6. The title track, for one, originated in a more straightforward, folk-singer vein before the bandmates stripped it down and rebuilt it in its current form as a horn-spiked bossa nova.

"We tried to push ourselves," Spurlock said of the extensive writing and recording sessions, which stretched on over the course of 14 months. "It was like, 'What more are we capable of? How can we elevate ourselves to where we want to be?' There was a lot of trying something unexpected … to see if it would work."

Regardless, the album maintains a timeless musical feel, incorporating swinging tunes that conjure images of a Prohibition-era speakeasy ("River Bank") and folksier turns like "Some Birds," which opens as an a cappella sing-along and closes as a jaunty prairie church revival.

In the past, Buker filled the band's songs with intensely personal revelations - "If I was writing lyrics to a song, [Joe] would know exactly what it was about because it was very situational and very much about something I had recently gone through," he said - but this time around he made a more concerted effort to adopt a broader viewpoint, wrestling with universal concepts like regret, aging and death on mature, emotionally stirring tracks like "Scared."

"There were songs on the last record that were meant to be a message to people, and I definitely got emails, like, 'Hey, I listened to the record, and that was tough for me.' And to me it was like, 'Good. Fuck you,' or whatever it was," Buker said. "But are those songs going to feel as strong to others? I think taking this broader approach really was an attempt to relate to more people. We're all going to get older, we're all going to get sick and we're all going to be scared of it. Why run away from it?"

Brothers Drake Meadery & Bar

8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6

26 E. Fifth Ave., Short North


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