On December 12th I attended the final Wilco show of the six at The Riviera. I had an extra ticket, so I invited Sam McAllister-lead singer/songwriter of Project Film. In between the opener and the main attraction we were chatting, and I asked him flat out, “Is your record ever coming out?” His response was an unsatisfactory “I don’t know.” This album was mixed and mastered a year and a half ago, and it’s been waiting to be heard. Finally, on December 30th, we got to hear Different Rooms for the first time.
I feel like D’Angelo coming out with Black Messiah had something to do with this surprise release. I can’t think of any other reason that they would’ve decided all of a sudden to put it out. Not that I’m complaining-I’ve been asking Sam and Megan (Frestedt) about this every time I see them. Was it worth the wait? In my opinion, yes.
Project Film’s 2010 debut album, Chicago, was a fine introduction. There is something a bit juvenile about it, though. Especially if you compare it to the more mature sound you find immediately upon playing the quick opening track of Faces In The Summer. You can still hear the influences of Death Cab in Sam’s voice and the melodies, but the songwriting has its own unique voice. The only thing that remains from their first album is the harmony of Sam and Megan’s vocals throughout.
There was one opportunity you may have had to hear some of these songs before now. Back in January I put together a show at The Empty Bottle, and Project Film played four of the new songs at that show (they haven’t played again since). Of the four, “These Walls Are Vagrant” is probably my favorite. It acts as a kind of sonic bridge between the two records, calling back to some of the sonic atmosphere of Chicago while posing the question, “I wonder what we’ll make with all this noise?”
Further down the tracklist, find “CIty Lights,” the defining track of the album in my opinion. It’s a six-minute slow burn that doesn’t waste a second of its duration. It begins stark and builds throughout, sounding like Jamie xx lent a hand in producing the soundscapes that hold it all together. Most impressive here is their ability to keep focus on the lyrics while a million different things are going on in the background.
This may be the last Project Film album we get to hear. As of right now, there are no plans to celebrate this record live. I’m hoping that changes. If this is in fact the last we hear from the group, they’re going out on a high. The artistic growth between their debut record and Different Rooms is obvious, which makes their uncertain future much more tragic.