She Bears singer-guitarist Stephen Pence was traversing the highways that link Boston to Brooklyn when I called. You would think this would be an unlucky time for a week-long East Coast tour, but the only aftereffect of Hurricane Sandy the Columbus indie rock band had encountered so far was a whole lot of darkness during night drives that would normally look like a “glorious glowing mess.”
The occasion for the jaunt — which ends Saturday with a homecoming show at Ace of Cups featuring Indigo Wild, Saintseneca and The Sidekicks — is the release of We Claimed to be Statues, a new 7-inch EP that also functions as the lead single for an album coming next year.
The A-side, “Tracks In the Snow,” tackles matters of “permanence, or the lack thereof,” Pence explained. Over shimmering guitars and tumbling drums and bass, he spins lyrics like, “When I’m dead and gone, don’t you wait too long to bury me.”
“It’s about the realization that we’re all sort of chasing something,” Pence said. “We’re all trying to leave our mark, and we have this idea that we’ll be permanent.”
Sonically, it’s light and peppy, but lyrics about futility and being extinguished like the lights on the East Coast cast at least some doubt on Pence’s assertion that the coming album is “more fun.” That’s a relative term; so is “full,” but I’d venture that She Bears has been successful in its pursuit of sonic girth since paring down to four members after transplanting from Athens two years ago.
“For the entire existence of She Bears prior to us moving here, we had at least five people in the band and at times seven,” Pence said. “We spent time trying to explore how far we could take what each of us was doing without cluttering things too much. There were a lot of gaps to fill.”
Now a finely tuned beast, the band is set to expand its imprint in 2013 with more touring, at least until the tides of time have their way.