Orchestral Maneuvers by Steve Goldberg & The Arch Enemies.
Text by Kevin Stairiker.
The genre description on Steve Goldberg & The Arch Enemies’ Facebook page is as incredibly apt as it is humorous: “If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it.”
Steve Goldberg and his band have been living in that world since they released their first album in 2007 and they continue to produce their complex but catchy pop, with classical instruments and three-part harmonies, on their new EP The Flood, due out in December.
Goldberg is the only constant member in a band with a revolving door of musicians. Around 20 different people, including Turning violet Violet’s Sarah Gulish on flute, contributed to the new album in some fashion. You’ll hear around 30 different instruments played on the five tracks, including a violin, viola, cello, piano, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, flute and glockenspiel.
The result is an EP-sized masterpiece that lives up to Goldberg’s orchestra-sized ambitions. Goldberg writes all of the incredibly precise orchestral arrangements on every song the band releases, which has been an unfortunately low number, Goldberg admits.
“It can take me a long time to figure out the songs since so much goes into each of them,” he explains.
As a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in composition, however, Goldberg believes he’s up to the task. But there are certainly limitations to what a baroque pop band can do live, which he has conquered through inventive ways in the past.
“When I was studying abroad in London,” he says, “I would play a show where it was just me on guitar, and then have two other people playing tuba and cello.”
While that got the job done at the time, he plans to have a full band in place by the time of the release show at Johnny Brenda’s on December 10th.
It’s been a long time coming for the EP. It began with Goldberg pouring his own money into the project. Then, he launched a Kickstarter campaign for $5,000. He raised the funds in 30 days, allowing him to finance such things as the mixing and mastering of the EP.
“While I was making the album, all I wanted to do was complete it the way I wanted and then figure out how to do it all later,” Goldberg continues. “But it’s a lot of work, man.”