At first glance, everything about William the Accountant sounds geared toward the brain.

At first glance, everything about William the Accountant sounds geared toward the brain.

First, there’s the band’s name, which calls to mind a bespectacled number cruncher hunched over a spreadsheet in the midst of tax season. Then there’s the title of the group’s latest, Zero Stroke, an eight-song effort that takes its name from a supposed mental disorder diagnosed by German physicians in the early 1920s and characterized by a patient’s desire to write endless rows of zeros.

In reality, though, the eclectic quintet’s music is largely engineered to move the body, and on Zero Stroke the players craft a loose, funky soundtrack that borrows elements from samba, calypso, Soweto and more.

“What we're trying to do musically is get down to a more fundamental level; we're trying to get back to street-level music,” said singer Kevin Luce, 30, who joined drummer Ted Bigham, 28, for a late October interview at a downtown coffee shop. “If you want to spend time combing through the lyrics, there are more layers to explore ... but in no way would I ever be offended if someone said, ‘Hey, I love coming to your shows because I don't have to think.’ We want it to be a physical experience.”

The loose feel of the album, which the band will debut at a free record release show at Skully’s Music-Diner on Friday, Nov. 7, was aided by the recording process; unlike the band’s previous full-length, Strophes, which was assembled in painstaking fashion over nearly two-and-a-half years, a bulk of Zero Stroke was captured during a three-day recording blitz in a north side cabin overlooking the Scioto River. According to Bigham, the abbreviated sessions allowed the band members to move instinctually rather than belaboring the finer details, and he described the overall vibe as “open and relaxing.”

William the Accountant brings a similarly freewheeling vibe to its live shows, which often require some form of audience participation, whether through call-and-response chants or assisting with additional percussion (Bigham said it’s not unusual for the bandmates to hand out tambourines to audience members before shows.)

“We believe in community,” Luce said. “It’s not about us. The band is literally named for someone else — even William, the accountant, can participate as much as we do. If you come to the show, you're the sixth member of the band.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston