Floating Opera is one of the longest running bands that will play Lincoln Exposed this weekend. But the pop collective is far from the same group that began in the early 1990s and released a debut cassette in 1993.
More than 70 musicians have performed and recorded with the group, led by keyboardist Richard Rebarber, who writes the music for the poetic engineers and produces its recordings with lyrics provided by former Lincolnite Charles Lieurance.
On Jan. 31, Floating Opera released “Pop Song on the Elevator Down,” its sixth recording (Tremulant Records), and will be giving some of the songs from that album live introductions at 11 p.m. Friday at Bodega’s Alley.
Made up of 10 originals and a cover of the Pixies’ “Debaser,” “Pop Song on the Elevator Down” is the best of the Floating Opera albums. It fully realizes Rebarber’s brand of pop that blends violin, trumpet, mandolin and plenty of keyboards and backing vocals into the guitars/bass/drums structure.
That mix at its most propulsive can be heard on the driving “Meantime,” one of six tracks to feature the lead vocals of Genevieve Bachinski Sanchez. Then comes the lush “Starships on the TV,” and the shaking “No Time Machine” with Morgan Beach’s lead vocals driving as close to a dance track as Floating Opera has ever produced.
“Pop Song on the Elevator Down,” which takes its title from a lyric in closer “The Car Died of Shame,” is Floating Opera’s most rocking effort, balancing the uptempo tracks with ballads like the back-to-back “Calling Card” and keyboard-rooted “Ceiling Fan" that shifts toward California pop.
Two more lead vocalists turn up on the disc: Meg Bhagwandin on the band’s dark, shouting take on the Pixies classic, and Rebarber’s daughter Sonia on the swinging “Contents of My Pockets.”
Who knows how much of “Pop Song on the Elevator Down” will turn up in Friday’s show, the first Floating Opera performance in 1½ years. But I’m guessing it will make up most of the set and hopefully will sound as good live as it does on CD. Grade: A