Led by Chaz Costello, who also plays in Choir Boy (and has a project with Adam Klopp called Human Leather), SCULPTURE CLUB are an integral part of the burgeoning SLC scene, and occupy their own space in the 80’s goth pop revival. Acoustic guitars, violins, chorus soaked basslines, and jagged leads all find a place on their eclectic new album. The band’s new album “Worth” on Funeral Party Records features excellent sonic palette matched with inventive, exceptional songwriting and comes as one of the most stirring and resonant albums in the modern history of the genre. We’re stoked to give you its full stream and the band’s track by track commentary below!
“the band calls back to the shimmering melodies, tormented vocals, and the steadfast pop core of The Cure or Echo and the Bunnymen” – Under the Radar
“sweet-as-candy melodies wrap around a bittersweet nougat of lyrical torment” – Post-Punk
Sculpture Club made a name for themselves as party-punks, pure and simple, throwing the kinds of glitter-coated shows that their hometown of Salt Lake City had never seen before, and would not soon forget. While cannon-blasting confetti onto crowds at the climax of a set, Sculpture Club was also crafting an “all-in” kind of rock ‘n’ roll that both distinguished them stylistically from other bands in the scene and paved the way for the project to confidently grow and evolve. Core members Chaz Costello (of Choir Boy, Human Leather, Fossil Arms) and Madison Donnelly (of Big Baby, Foster Body) generously applied sparkly, driving guitar parts and irresistibly thundering drum beats to the foundation of their sound, building on it with the addition of bassist Chris Copelin for their 2016 album A Place to Stand. There, riptide bass lines round out a sound rippling with the sweeping, crashing urgency of post-punk, while also recalling the glamor of classic goth.
In the time since that release, Sculpture Club has expanded into a four-piece, losing Copelin but gaining Bret Meisenbach (of Baby Ghosts) and Halee Jean (of Hoofless), two prolific Salt Lake musicians cut from the same cloth as Costello and Donelly. With Jean’s cello and the multi-instrumentalist in Meisenbach, a new vision for Sculpture Club has been realized—one where the band finds more complexity by diving into something like delicacy.
𝑂𝑛 𝑊𝑜𝑟𝑡ℎ, 𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑛-ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑚𝑒𝑙𝑜𝑑𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑑 𝑎 𝑡𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 ℎ𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑠, 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑎 𝑆𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑝𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝐶𝑙𝑢𝑏 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡’𝑠 𝑠𝑜𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑑𝑔𝑒𝑠.
Even so, their colorful, partying roots are not behind them, but still present in deftly driving guitars that recall glitter on the floor. Meanwhile, the darkly wandering experiments they’ve honed along the way are transformed on Worth into a vehicle for Sculpture Club to relax into shimmery melancholy. It’s a deserved —if not momentary—resting posture for a band that’s spent nearly a decade playing the hell out of every stage they’ve chanced to visit.
Words by Sculture Club:
I think before I dig into each song I’ll start by saying that the trough line of this whole album is trying to understand worth and value on an internal level. Not material so much but emotional and personal. There is a sense of that in all the songs not matter how they meander down the off ramps of that main highway.
Chains & Faith:
Chains is the struggle that is self on a very personal level. It’s me dealing with my identity and the connections, or lack there of, that I have to myself. Mostly it Stems, like a lot of my songs, from the lonely & loud home of my Imposter syndrome. I have always had constant and persistent struggle with my own worth. I wanted to try and express how depression can wear you and your self image down to the point that you can’t recognize who you are anymore. Which is obviously a heavy and tricky subject. So I tried put down with the back and forth I have with myself in my head. Seemed like a good way to get the ideas out.
The verses are my inner monologue and the chorus is the culmination and release of the frustration. Only wanting / needing some connection with yourself. Just even knowing something as simple as your name. More poetically put, the song deals with the chains of depression as identity as well as the void of identity that mental illness can bring on.
Just One More:
Like Chains this is another one that is coming from my Imposter syndrome.(big surprise) The difference being that it’s coming from more of a removed point of view. Third person if you will. Looking in from above at the way I’m acting and things I was doing to build up walls and keep myself “safe”. Knowing full well its only standing in the way of happiness. It’s also a bit more melodramatic. Ex: “You would rather accept you were born for the grave”. A silly woe is me type vibe.
The initial Idea came from my amazing skill of deflecting complements. Being able to turn them around into proof that I am actually a piece of shit. Finally, one night, a frustrated friend said “how many is it going take before you realize that your are not a piece of shit?” And my smart ass thought just one more. It will always be just one more. I thought that is was funny and a bit tragic and worth exploring
Gifts of Light:
Im so proud of the leads in this song. I’ll be honest I had written them to show off, if you couldn’t tell. I wanted to play something intricate and fast in the vain of girl afraid. Something that looked cool as you saw someone play it, but didn’t feel like a guitar center riff. Im not sure why I remember this so well, but I wrote this song in October on the night that I first watched the Elvira movie. I remember finishing the demo and running my computer out to my S/O Melody to show her.
It’s a feel good song lyrically, at least to me. It came from a place of empowerment. Having survived a treacherous few years with my family that ultimately ended in estrangement. I was feeling, for the first time in a while, strong and proud of myself, which is rare. I was proud of the things I had to offer the world. I don’t tend to write when Im feeling positive about myself. So this was a new one for me. I really love how the Melodica sounds in it.
This was actually the first song I had written for the album. I wrote it just before we took a break as a band in 2017-18ish. This is another one that deals with the ever present family issues I carry around, surprise surprise. It came out of a particularly insightful therapy session. At the time I was feeling a lot of guilt and uncertainty for cutting off my family. I was working through said feelings in therapy. When my therapist said that just being alive is very painful. That even a good decision, like making sure you are safe and protected, can cause a lot of pain to others. Which hit me hard. It was one of those therapy things. You know that you have always known that to be true but something about how they get you there makes it hit different. How do they do that so well?
Even though it was the first song I had written for the record I think it was the last one finished. I was having a really hard time with the chorus and couldn’t really get it to feel right. So one night after the studio I can home and worked for hours on a new guitar lead, with no success. Frustrated and defeated I finally thought I’ll just try one more pass without thinking. Just play the first dumb, simple guitar line that pops in your head. So I did and it was perfect. The whole lead is pretty much two notes. I was so mad and so happy at the same time. Then Halee put down her cello tracks, and that really filled out the whole song for me. I think this might be my favorite song on the album.
Where you are now:
I think the cello really makes this song. Ultimately it’s about my sister. The sample in the beginning is her as a child practicing her spelling. I used to carry around this little dictaphone as a kid and record just whatever. I try and listen through the tapes every few years. This time around there was an abrupt stop on one of the micro cassettes and then my sisters voice came on practicing spelling words. She must have stolen it from me so she could study. It just felt right to have it in there.
I wrote it in reflection after my sister and I cut ties. In a broader sense Its about seeing someone go to a place mentally and emotionally that you have been yourself but can’t go again. You’ve tried to help and you want to help but there is nothing else you can do. And the sorrow that the relationship, whatever it may be, is over. Its bitter sweet because on one hand you feel connected to this person having felt what they are feeling but sad that that means it’s over.
World of Movement:
I love the reverse snare in this song! It one of my favorite sounds on the album. I had written this one to be a classic Sculpy song but slightly elevated. Dirty bass, heavy drums, screaming lead for sure but with touches of harmony and space that the older songs didn’t always have.
Lyrically it’s about the constant search for balance and structure in a constantly moving world that we have been tossed into. It’s a confusing enough place to be without the struggle for position. In a sentence. Sometimes just existing is enough.
Clean it Up:
Usually I tend to write songs where the bass moves under a consistent riff. I wanted to do the opposite for once. So the bass doesn’t move at all in the verses. And the guitar kinda just swirls around it. I thought I was being very clever. It was a challenge though. To have a single note bass line that doesn’t feel stagnant was a tricky one for me. I like dark anticipation it builds until the minor to major shift in to a big rock chorus. Im very proud of this one.
This was another exercise in writing from a more positive place. I was feeling very ready to get my shit together and move on from the destruction in my family life. I think the Chorus says it best.
“We may have lost ourselves
but we can’t just give up now
And everything that we’ve built
may it burn to the ground
cause its a fresh start for us now”
Teeth & Tongue:
I was listening to a lot of Aztec Camera & Icicle Works when I wrote this one. Lots of jazzy chords and wiggly bass lines. I think the star of this song is the drums though. Bret did an incredible job on all the songs but the bridge of this I think is one of the best and funniest drum moments on the album
It’s of those songs that kinda a mash of ideas. I didn’t have a specific Idea in mind when I started writing it. Lyrically I kinda just let my mind wonder from place to place. I like to do a lot of free association journaling. I feel like it helps me clear out my brain so I thought why not try it with lyrics? Over all it’s about acceptance of your self and your own value to yourself. Not taking yourself too seriously but not just blowing yourself off either. I think its reflected in the music too. I just wanted to explore and try some things I thought would be fun and funny. If you listen closely you can hear me reading a poem underneath the bridge. lol
Is another song I had written back in 2017-18. Actually it was Christmas of 2018. I remember sitting in my in-laws backyard alone in the Arizona winter playing guitar. I was obsessed with the song Eternity Road by LowLife at the time. I realized I had been singing the lyrics wrong. I thought it was “I took this more or less as my personal low” which hit me hard. but its “Load” not “low”. Still a great line but I thought I’m going use that personal low idea. So, with that, I wrote the chorus.
We all have lows. They mean and feel and look different to everyone. I don’t think a Low is all bad. I mean they feel so shitty but there is a beauty in knowing that pain isn’t something that isolates us but unites us, in a way. It’s honest and it can, and will, happen to anyone. It’s a hopeful thought. And one that helps me a lot.
Shed the Salt:
The phrase shed the salt was inspired from Hamlet. “O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt. Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!” I just thought that’s a beautiful way to think about crying.
For Sculpy Club I usually start with a Bass of Guitar and a quick 4/4 tempo. But This is 3/4 and wrote it on a piano and synth. I didn’t know if it would work for us and I almost didn’t put it on the album. But I thought why not. Nothing matters anymore. Life is chaos.
Like all the songs on the album, it deals in the ideas of self worth. This one through the eyes of a performer. A lot of times I think about the role of pain and torment in art. If you make a name for yourself writing tragic painful songs people want you to do more of that. Which isn’t the healthiest place to be. It’s dangerous to live there too long. But there is a part of you that doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. You’re saddens brings them happiness, and your happiness can be a disappointment to them. Trying to find your worth in pain is a strange road to navigate.
Twirl was the last song written for the album. And in a sentence it’s is about our cat, Mowgli, who passed away. But like all art there are subtleties that I can only seem to express by song.
To me it feels like the albums epilogue in a way. It rides the blissful, bitter sweet, and tragic emotional waves of grief, trust, loss and worth. I had originally written two sets of lyrics to two different songs that I couldn’t quite crack. One was before we lost Mowgli to a sudden cancer and one was after he passed away. It was in that initial time of grief, after he had passed, that I connected the two songs. They were two sides of the same coin. Trying to navigate grief and the things we do to Hide from it, understand it, confront it or let it take us for a ride. It’s all a kind of meandering mist of confusion until you are hit with the pain and knowledge that your heart has split in two. Which can be tragic but not necessarily all bad. Like a hard cry can feel cleansing.