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Having gone solo for The Bynars set in the WERS studio for Live Music Week, singer-guitarist Matt Jatkola played it confident and cool. As one third of the local Boston group, Jatkola did his band members proud playing a set that was relaxed and fun. “They’re just in invisible cloaks right now, so they’re good.” Perched on a stool with nothing but a mic and acoustic guitar, Jatkola owned musical minimalism.
Despite being soft spoken, Jatkola has an easy sense of humor that was well matched with his acoustic set and narrative lyrics. Drawing inspirations from personal favorites like The Rentals, the Bynars have been likened to being the byproduct of a drunken hook up between the B-52’s and Weezer. Jatkola doesn’t deny this but addresses it as a rather outdated comparison. “That quote is definitely a quote from when we really started… it was more like pop guitar stuff… I don’t actually play a lot of guitar live. I still write with guitar, but it’s been slowly more program heavy, more keyboard heavy.” During his set, however, stripped to just an acoustic guitar, Jatkola proved he still has guitar chops and let his lyrics do all the talking.
The group originated in Massachusetts, their roots beginning a little further west of the city. “Ben (their synth player) and I started the band… we slowly relocated out closer to the city, played in some more bands and we started this one and it just stuck. We started in 2008 and we’ve been at it ever since.”
Starting the set with “How Does It Feel to Be in Love?”, a track from the band’s self-titled April 2011 release, Jatkola’s voice drove the strength of the melody with his guitar as accompaniment. The older track was certainly styled as more of a traditional pop song performed through some upbeat guitar licks that exuded its pleasantries even without any backing instruments.
Jatkola also shared a new track during the set that he admitted to only recently having considered performance ready. The track “For You” lends itself to the band’s new sound which will be even more fun to listen to once the band’s new record reaches completion, the release tentatively set for early 2013. “We’re just personally interested in electronic music and stuff that’s a little edgier and quote unquote modern sounding. We’re kind of getting into that a little more with our new stuff,” Jatkola states. The track, that lyrically takes a look back on young love with the wisdom of experience, definitely lived up to Jatkola’s narrative expectations. “I feel like a lot of times the songs aren’t there. Like you don’t get a good song but I like songs, so it’s like we’re trying to meld the two, a good song and a good dance number or electronic number.”
Closing off the set by paying homage to a new Dragonette’s song, Jatkola put an acoustic spin on “Run Run Run”. A track that showed off Jatkola’s distinctive vocals, the stripped down version paid reverence to good musicianship rather than production value. In regards to the new album, the band is pleased with their new direction. “It’s kind of a lot of… work,” Jatkola laughs. “It’s like more work than just taking a week off and banging it out, it’s kind of like you have to be in it all the time.”
And indeed they are, having just released a mini film video for the track “Every Little Thing You Love”. “I think we’re kind of melding that pop music stuff with that dance stuff for an edgier sound… that Weezer element is probably not going to be as apparent aside from the fact that it’s still probably going to be a pop song at its heart.” The Bynars will be playing as a group at Great Scott on November 15th.