Most Hollywood blockbusters take less time to complete than the full-length debut from Feature Films.

Most Hollywood blockbusters take less time to complete than the full-length debut from Feature Films.

Some songs on the quintet’s self-titled album, which will finally surface when the band visits Spacebar for a record release show on Friday, Feb. 6, date back to its January 2010 formation, and writing, rehearsal and recording sessions took place sporadically over a five-year period, oftentimes in bursts of as little as two or three hours a week.

“We're all in our 30s and married, and the amount of time we have to invest in creative [pursuits] is more limited than it used to be,” said frontman Sam Craighead, 32, who’s joined in the group by Alex Romstedt, Paul Rentler, Pete Shumaker and Steve Randall (fun fact: Craighead (Heavy Mole), Rentler (Cinema Eye) and Romstedt (The Blue Revision) are all former Bands to Watch participants). “So it was a combination of [life intervening] and laziness.”

Fittingly, much of the material on Feature Films is rooted in this maturation process, tracing the bandmates growth from adrift 20-somethings to established 30-somethings with jobs, families and an ever-increasing level of responsibility. Thematically and tonally, it shares some similarity with the Wrens 2003 masterwork The Meadowlands, touching on the pressures, heartaches and adjusted expectations that settle in as youth fades.

It’s a feel established on melancholic opener “Repeating,” where Craighead sings, “College is done/ It’s time to pay the government for every word I read.”

“It's like I decided to become an adult in my late 20s instead of earlier,” the frontman said, and laughed. “When I look back at stuff I did before this band, when I was in my early 20s, I see where I was coming from, but it's like, wow, I was really whining about some pretty trivial stuff. We wrote these songs over the course of four [to] five years, so the headspace changed a lot. A lot of it for me goes to anxiety … but it's dealing with growing up and becoming an adult.”

In many ways, the recording process reflected this more serious-minded approach. To accommodate the bandmates’ varied schedules, Craighead dutifully kept a calendar with practice and studio times, and there were elaborate spreadsheets tracing the minutiae associated with recording, mastering and manufacturing the album (the band pressed 100 copies for sale). All of this, the singer said, was essential to completing the full-length — a first for Craighead, who managed a four-song EP with Heavy Mole but never followed through with a proper debut before the bandmates parted ways.

“Through my job I've gotten a lot more motivated in the last year or so, and I've figured out ways to actually accomplish stuff,” he said. “But this whole finishing [an album] thing is still somewhat new for me.”

Photo by Meghan Ralston