It took three years for Atlanta quintet the Close to adjust, regroup and finally complete a follow-up to its second album, It's a Secret to Everybody. "As soon as that record came out in 2003, we started touring really heavily," says Brooks Meeks, the band's guitarist and lead vocalist. "We'd come home, be broke as hell and try to get our lives together after being on the road for five or six weeks at a time. The record just slipped back in terms of priority. ... It was a challenge trying to get back in the studio after spending all of your time on the road, dedicated to band stuff."
The Close made other changes, too. It found a new home in Goodnight Records (the Press, the Orphins), and expanded its sound from dynamic, guitar-driven rock to compositions that absorb a breadth of styles, from the melancholy jangle of the Smiths to the dramatic crescendos and story arcs of Built to Spill. The band references classic rock ("On the List") and '60s soul ("The John and Donna Thing"), largely as a result of contributions by keyboard player and vocalist Theresa Fedor. But the nine-track album Sun, Burn still sounds like indie-rock.
"It's a vintage-sounding album," Meeks says. "When I talk about vintage influences, I refer to the sound parts and not necessarily how they fit together."
Now, with the imminent release of Sun, Burn, the Close -- Meeks, Fedor and bassist Dustan Nigro -- is preparing to head out on the road again. (Keefe Justice will replace Greg Stevens, who usually plays drums for the band.) This time, Meeks says, the band is ready. "Everybody in the band is much more in tune with that lifestyle than we were before. We know how to make it work, and the people in our lives have gotten used to the fact that we're gone for long periods of time."
The Close plays the Earl Sat., Nov. 4, with Rizzudo and the Orphins. $7. 9:30 p.m. 488 Flat Shoals Road. 404-522-3950. www.badearl.com.