Film School, the L.A.-based, Bay Area-bred indie-rock band, flew in the face of prevailing trends when their 2006 debut of post-punk infused shoegaze landed, garnering them a sort of outlier status that they shared with the likes of Editors, the National and (the more commercially successful) Interpol. “Hideout,” released in 2007, marked a fraying within the band’s lineup, eventually leading to a full reshuffle upon singer-guitarist Greg Bertens relocation to L.A. — and subsequent release of 2010’s “Fission,” a much brighter and pop-friendly oeuvre. Lying mostly dormant for the past eight years, save for a reunion show in 2014 that rejuvenated them, the original lineup of Bertens, bassist Justin LaBo, guitarist Nyles Lannon and keyboardist Jason Ruck (with drummer Adam Wade) returned to release “Bright To Death” last year. Initially tempering their expectations, “Bright To Death” became a sleeper hit of an album, racking up critical acclaim and some notable end-of-year lists.
What was once sonically passé upon their genesis has found resonance in the social static of today’s culture.
Hot on the trail of 2018’s success Film School have a new EP in the works. Tentatively scheduled for summer of 2019, they lead with the single “Influencer” — a nod to people’s attitude toward social media and, Bertens says, how we “cringe at fake positivity yet we desperately want to be shown a model for the good life.” Front-loaded with driving drums, reverb-laden guitars wash over the track in a sunny ambivalence that rises to Bertens almost saccharin intonations, “Influence / pestilence / knock me out / take my mind away.”
No more appropriate that the pseudo-Luddite mantle is taken up by a band steeped in a sound that has come back around the bend, its vision refracted through the lens of a different era, yet finding acclaim in the present.
||| Stream: “Influencer”