On Doubt & Distortion, Bicentennial Bear races through a range of bouncy, fuzzy pop-rock songs about learning to decelerate and savor the moment.

On Doubt & Distortion, Bicentennial Bear races through a range of bouncy, fuzzy pop-rock songs about learning to decelerate and savor the moment.

"I'm slowing down to watch you accelerate," sings frontman Billy Peake on the album-closing "My Love Carries No Anchor," a heartfelt number filled with life advice for his two young children, who will soon turn two and four years old, respectively.

"I've always been the kind of person who either lamented the past or felt like things will get way better, and until I had kids … I never really appreciated the moment," said Peake, who will join bandmates Adam Dowell (bass), Jason Mowery (drums), Sean Sefcik (guitar) and Leah Wahlin (viola, keys, backing vocals) for a record release show at Ace of Cups on Friday, Nov. 20. "I never really appreciated all the good things we got to do with Miranda Sound (the late, lamented band has played only sporadically since disbanding in 2008) because I was always thinking about what was next. I look back now and I'm like, 'Holy shit. We played Lollapalooza and put 25,000 miles on the van. We were relentless.' But I didn't appreciate it then because I was always like, 'What's the next step?'"

Or, as he puts it on "Fits and Starts," the surging, orchestral number that kicks off the band's latest, "Slow down, we'll want to capture this … these are days that I want to keep."

According to Peake, the emergence of this more reflective side coincided with the birth of his oldest child and carried over into the writing and recording sessions for Doubt & Distortion, which started in earnest more than two and a half years ago. In addition to penning songs about new fatherhood - "I want to write songs for them because you want to leave things for people; not that I'm planning on going anywhere soon," Peake said, and laughed - the singer also delved deeper into his stormy relationship with his own father, which appears in the album's repeated mentions of hurricanes.

"That is my dad; we had a tough relationship," said Peake, who didn't speak with his father for 21 years before reaching out to make peace in the months before he died. "While we were mixing the record, I was trying to sort out how do I make amends with my dad … and thinking about how that affects me as a father."

It's a theme that surfaces most cleanly on "My Love Carries No Anchor," where Peake pledges "to be the father that I wanted to have."

"It used to be [the songs] were either social things or political things or about me not wanting to give up getting in a van and being in a rock band, because that's what I knew at the time," Peake said. "Now it's 'What can I do to enrich these kids in some way so they feel they have a special life?' These are the things I think about now."

Ace of Cups

9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20

2619 N. High St., Old North

aceofcupsbar.com

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