Moving Units

The story of Dealership's third album is as action-packed as the band's music

"Yeah, most of the time," adds Wetherell. "We even have a term for it."

"Spontaneous genius!" Groves and Pinckard say together.

It's obvious that the bandmates enjoy one another's company, so it comes as no surprise that their songwriting has gotten more collaborative. On several of these new songs, Pinckard and Groves play different characters responding to each other. In "Spies," they're secret agents, one of whom is dying and the other who is regretfully responsible. In "Database Corrupted," they're lovers who're breaking up -- he's completely blindsided by the news, while she says he's simply oblivious.

Dealership: "Sometimes good things come out of utter 
simplicity."
Dealership: "Sometimes good things come out of utter simplicity."

Overall, the pair's lyrics have become far more narrative-driven. While there are plenty of love-gone-wrong stories, there are also fantastical tales about hostage situations and international intrigue. "I'm less into mining my own experiences than I am pretending I'm someone else," Groves explains.

"Your narrators always have a disability," laughs Pinckard. "There's the guy with Tourette's, the old man that's senile."

"I'm just trying to bring light to their plights," riffs Groves.

Dealership finished mixing the tunes in the summer of 2002. Having put out their first two discs on their own, the musicians wanted to find a label for their third one. But while there was lots of interest, no one would fully commit. Finally, Pinckard decided to go traveling overseas. With the band on hiatus and the album languishing unreleased, Groves and Wetherell started a new act, Citizens Here and Abroad, with pals from the group Secadora. Suddenly it seemed that Dealership's story would end like a Grimm fairy tale.

Enter Jeff Walsh, owner of Santa Clara's Turn Records. He'd been a fan of the band since 2002, but it was a live performance on KSCU-FM (103.3) in the summer of 2003, after Pinckard had returned, that finally won Walsh over. "When you see them perform live it's clear they make a connection with the audience," he says. "They have charisma as well as instantly infectious pop songs."

Over the next few months, Walsh lobbied to put out the recorded album, which the group had titled Action/Adventure. (Pinckard wanted Dealership: The Musical, but she was quickly vetoed.) With Pinckard recommitted to the project, Groves and Wetherell found themselves with two buzz-worthy groups and a lot less free time.

Action/Adventure-- finally released last month, complete with samurai video game-like artwork -- more than lives up to its name. With all the well-scripted metaphors, large-scale hooks, and soaring harmonies, the record feels gloriously widescreen, a Hollywood epic shot on digital video. The CD has something for all tastes, from wistful ballads and crunchy rockers to extraordinary love stories and astrophysical phenomena. It's inspirational, really. When, on "World," Groves calls out, "I'm telling the world/ I'm starting all over/ You heard me/ I'm telling the world/ I'm starting all over/ So get ready," you may be tempted to quit your job and go off on your own adventure. You know, spontaneously. Genius!

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