By any account, Down From Up is a far different beast today than it was when it started. A handful of years back, the band was a fixture on the local college rock circuit, playing melody-driven pop-rock numbers. Since then, they’ve grown some chest hair, ditching emotive balladry for deeper, darker fare.
“I think what happened is, early on, we were just playing music—it wasn’t real clear where we were going with it,” singer Matt Brewster says. “We had maybe one or two harder songs, and those were the songs that fans really responded to.”
As a result, the band’s songwriting began to mutate, starting with the 2007 album A Terrible Beauty. Harder songs gradually replaced the slower ones. Down From Up’s new album, From Ashes to Empire, is a zenith of sorts, combining the technical dexterity of a complicated math equation with raw, unfiltered emotion. (Leslie Wylie)