Two-and-a-half years after the 2016 release of Bloom, the members of Rüfüs Du Sol pressed delete.
“Let’s get back to where we started / When there was talk of getting older,” vocalist Tyrone Lindqvist sings on “Treat You Better,” the opener to Solace, released in October. Specifically, the trio got rid of all its plug-ins and synths, bought 10 new analog ones, and rigged it up so that they could “walk up to any synth and play it and record it in.
“Everything was tactile,” Lindqvist adds. “You could scroll through the sounds and you could play more than one synth at any time, and you could record all of it at once. So we would find ourselves locked in 20-to-40-minute jams where there was no intention of making a song. It was just playing.”
Essentially, they created a “big kids’ playground” where they could play at 3 a.m. or 6 a.m. without sound bleeding through to disturb the neighbors. The result was a burst of productivity in which they wrote more songs and more kinds of songs than ever. Having previously described the band as operating with “one brain,” Lindqvist says the set-up enabled both collaboration and maximum creativity that played to each individual member’s strengths. And they were roommates.
“We lived in a place in Venice on Rose Avenue,” Lindqvist says. “Me and the other two guys and our manager and our girlfriends, a Brady Bunch-style house.”
After a long time on the road, living in such close quarters sounds like they’d all be a lot tighter at the end or maybe ready to murder one another.
“We’re really lucky like that,” he says. “We’ve come across bands that talk about touring and they’re like, ‘We really need to get away from each other.’ But I feel like we get a bit of separation anxiety. It’s nice to have our own space, but it was so fun to live with the guys. It’s the most fun we’ve ever had writing a record.”
A trio of Australians relocating to California sounds like the thematic baseline to a Rüfüs du Sol album. (Known simply as Rüfüs in their native country, the band officially adopted its international moniker worldwide earlier this year.) Apart from the relative proximity to Australia and New York, the allure of the desert is strong. Lindqvist says that they “unanimously” chose Los Angeles partly because of the landscape.
He ticks off the reasons: “Just knowing that Joshua Tree is so close, Death Valley is so close, Yosemite is nearby, Mammoth, San Francisco.”
While a Rüfüs du Sol show in Yosemite would be amazing, they are at least coming to Bill Graham next Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Noting the similarities to the Australian Outback, Lindqvist — who was born in an opal-mining town whose population fluctuates from between 4,500 and 6,000 people, depending on the heat and how many prospectors are seeking their fortunes at any given time — makes a strong case for arid landscapes as an integral part of Rüfüs’ alternating light-and-dark sound, with its studied drops and lush, arresting quasi-choral arrangements.
Solace is full of elusive turns, whether that be percussive effects that patter around the edges or the warped, occasionally harsh echo of a melodic passage. The video for “No Place” was shot amid the yucca palms and rock formations of Joshua Tree, and “New Sky” demands that the speaker’s interlocutor, “Take me to another place.”
For a band that vaulted to prominence on a spate of festival appearances that seemed to connect to every solar plexus under the tent, Solace builds outward in every direction from the quieter triumph of Bloom.
“We recently played Electric Forest, and we played ‘Underwater’ for the first time,” Lindqvist says. “Well, we’d played it a couple times before, but no one had heard. It wasn’t released yet. Getting to see their reaction firsthand is a really special gift.”
Rüfüs du Sol, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 8 p.m., at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove St. $45, billgrahamcivic.com