From her apartment in Boston, Mass., legendary punk singer Thalia Zedek’s voice is sweeter than expected. Her trademark smoky growl apparently reserved for recording sessions and live performances, the former lead singer for Come — who’s playing at Union Pool on Friday in support of her fourth solo record, “Liars and Prayers” — sounded exceptionally upbeat when she spoke to GO Brooklyn.
“I was kind of putting off recording until I figured out where the sound was going to go,” she said of her latest album. “I knew I wanted it to change, and once it became the five of us, I was like, ‘This is it!’”
Indeed, on “Liars and Prayers,” Zedek is joined by four other musicians, two of whom she played with in Come, and the sound is larger and more complex than her fans might be used to.
“The songs themselves are more political in nature than they had been in the past. It’s different in that it’s an angrier record; the earlier stuff was more focused on personal relationships, but [“Liars” is] more about what’s going on in the world.”
Songs like “Next Exit” and “Begin to Exhume” address today’s political landscape, while other tracks delve into more intimate realms: drug addiction, depression and more.
“I think ‘Next Exit’ might be my favorite [song on the record],” said Zedek. “I love the way it feels cinematic. Everyone comes in gradually and it turns into a completely different thing. I worked hard on that one — the idea had been kicking around for a while, and when we became a five-piece, and I played it for people, it instantly became a song.”
To hear Zedek tell it, the whole record is a bit of a perfect storm. After releasing “Trust Not Those in Whom Without Some Touch of Madness” in 2004, Zedek and her band (Daniel Coughlin on drums and Dave Curry on viola) toured Europe and Australia, but, Zedek said, “We had taken the viola, drums, guitar thing as far as we could.” Back in Boston, she recruited bassist Winston Braman, from Shepherdess, and pianist Mel Lederman, from Victory at Sea, and started putting together the new record.
“It’s given me a chance to branch out more as a guitar player, which was difficult to do in a three piece,” said Zedek. “I’ve been able to vary my guitar style more with slide guitar and solos. I don’t think it’s a huge, radical departure, maybe a little angrier. Now the drummer, Daniel, was in the last incarnation of Come and Winston was our second bass player. There’s a little bit of that dynamic there as well. There’s a certain comfort zone. We’re all pretty comfortable playing together.”
And it shows. The album, which was partially recorded at Translator Studios in DUMBO, is tight, powerful and haunting — not just a great rock record, but a great record overall. From the melancholy opening lines of “Next Exit,” to “Lower Allston,” Zedek’s ode to her Boston neighborhood, and the final track, “Begin to Exhume,” a frenzied barroom brawl of a song, Zedek and her band grab their audience and hold on tightly.
“It took having the right combination of people there to have it happen,” Zedek said. And that’s exactly what she has.
Thalia Zedek will play at 8 pm on June 13 at Union Pool (484 Union Ave. at Meeker Avenue in Williamsburg). $10. For information, call (718) 609-0484 or visit www.myspace.com/unionpool.