Adam McElreath is “bored to tears by live electronic music.”

Perhaps that’s why the man behind Big Big Buildings will transform the synth lines of his latest release, an experimental rocktronica album titled Soft Touch Amphitheater, into guitar loops and gritty pop with a daring palate at the Middle East tonight. The album’s polarizing soundscapes span fifteen tracks and oscillate between the introspective and confrontational. 

Asked about his musical direction over the past ten years, McElreath remarked that his teenage punk-rock and DIY obsession fed his desire to both experiment and own the recording process at home. Even with dramatic shifts in instrumentation, Big Big Buildings remains vulnerable, dwelling on explicit commands (“Drag me outside…. I think it’s time you put a cork in my mind”) with composition to match. 

In honing the process at home, McElreath has heavily experimented with his sound, a choice that clearly translates into his album art and distinct dynamic transitions. “Invited to Leave,” elicits the lazy, nostalgic guitar lines of Jay Som’s “Turn Into,” before turning on a dime with the rock-driven “Headtrip Tuxedo.” Meanwhile, “Back Into Itself,” the eighth track on Soft Touch Amphitheater swirls in realm of synths that recall Washed Out’s late 2011 dreamscapes.

McElreath notes that he has “never had much of a fanbase or any kind of expectation to please anyone” but himself, a key factor that encourages listening to his gut. While this fearlessness at times translates into jarring textural differences within his guitar- and keyboard-laden soundscapes, it ultimately allows for a captivating listen—necessary for a 15 track album.

With time, influences, and production on his side, Big Big Buildings’ latest record presents an ideal breadth of material for an onstage premier tonight at the Middle East Upstairs

In the meantime, listen to the record in full below:

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