"We're both born and raised in Miami. We wanted to represent the ocean, and we also thought about what was an animal that represents us, " explained Maitejosune Urrechaga, bassist for art-rock outfit Pocket of Lollipops, on why the duo's seventh album is called Tiburon. "Plus, I kept thinking about that shark that was at the entrance of Key Biscayne. When they got rid of that, it made me sad."
Comparison can be made between the predator and the band's new six-song record — which will be released in February on vinyl, cassette, and digitally. Tiburon is always circling its listeners with purpose; while at times the album is overly aggressive, it stays afloat with constant movement. It's reminiscent of Sonic Youth, although Urrechaga says that Pink Floyd is their major influence.
"They're the ones who really got me to mess around with sound," she adds.
Tiburon wasn't supposed to come out so quickly, but with 2020 being the year of social distancing, Urrechaga and drummer Tony Kapel found themselves with a lot more time on their hands.
"Weird situations often make for good outcomes," Kapel says. "We didn't have to be at shows. We didn't have to go to friends' shows. We just had time to work on this."
Kapel and Urrechaga, who are married and quarantining together, didn't have to rely on Zoom to have band meetings. Aalso contributing to the efficiency of Tiburon's recording was their home studio, HoundsTooth Cottage.
"It helped that my drums never moved," Kapel adds. "Usually, we have to tear up the mic set up for the drums every time we play a show live, and then we have to build them back up again. This time we only moved the drums if we came up with a cool idea."
The record's writing process was very different from previous efforts.
'We normally practice our songs a lot of times at shows before we ever record them," Urrechaga explains. "This time, there was only one song we ever got to play live. Usually, I only write one song at a time. Five of these songs all came together at the end at the same time. I was forced to take my time to listen to these songs more than I had in the past."
Accepting that there was so much out of their control allowed the duo to open up their creative process to outside minds.
"We gave up some responsibility," Kapel admits.
He generally masters the recordings and does the cover art. For Tiburon, David Fair created the album's artwork, and Bob Weston was in charge of mastering the final product.
"Not doing everything gave us an ease and comfort and let us think more about the music," he says. "Bob has an ear that knows how we sound and always has our back."
Pocket of Lollipops made sure its own creative imprint was all over the record. This includes a giant coloring page that will come with the vinyl release, which pays tribute both to all the fan art the band has received over the years and to Miami's live venues Pocket of Lollipops has performed at during its 12 years.
With its future still hazy in 2021, the band is unsure how to celebrate Tiburon's release.
"Usually, we'd have an album release party where we'd play live." Kapel says, "but now we might have to just have a listening party that will probably be online. But maybe we can have it outside somewhere? Where is the big question. We're concerned about others, so we'll have to wait and see."