Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. Vinyl Theatre’s sophomore album, Origami, tells us life is an art of folding–and sometimes refolding, too. It serves as a metaphor to remind us that something simple can be made intricate and beautiful. The frontman of these Milwaukee post-punk rockers, Keegan Calmes, shares in an interview, “It’s a positive album with hopeful undertones but it also touches on these harder parts of life.” The band took a trip to upstate New York to record their new album at Dreamland with producers Alex Aldi and Albert Di Fiore whose work with Passion Pit motivated the group to connect with them.
Vinyl Theatre’s sound is a blend of synth pop, EDM, and melodic rock. Origami features more prominent guitar lines in comparison to their first album, Electrogram, which was extremely synth-heavy. Despite the heightened use of guitars, Keegan’s voice is the most impactful element as it drives these wholesome anthems forward.
“Speak My Mind” is perhaps the hidden treasure of Vinyl Theatre’s discography. The track speaks to the struggle of controlling one’s own being. It gives breath to the struggle to be vulnerable and the fight for authenticity in the face of adversity in today’s society. Before the chorus we hear lyrics about how our chainmail armor we put on is no good in these modern days. The following chorus provides a heartbeat to our internal battles with an intimate slow down that leads into the climax; “Oh, maybe I’ll escape / This prison in my headspace / If I just speak my mind / Speak my mind / If I just speak my mind / Speak my mind”.
Keegan Calmes continues on to say in an interview that “A good summation of the record’s lyrical inspiration is just human existence–questioning everything about our time here and being wary of any absolutes.” One of Origami’s preview tracks, 3o seconds, speaks to being wary about absolutes in life, including life itself. The chorus unfolds the atomity of a lifetime with the chant, “There’s a fear in my head / It’ll all be forgotten / And what’s the point of a memory / Now if I’m only gonna lose it / I don’t mind / 30 seconds or a lifetime”.
Origami is the musical manifestation of Vinyl Theatre’s maturity and thought-provoking ideas. You have the opportunity to see Vinyl Theatre on their new tour with Misterwives and Smallpools starting in early August.