By Annie Bohling
March 17, 2017

Lincoln’s several-piece pop-rock group Floating Opera is celebrating the release of its fifth album – and its first since 2009 – this Saturday at 1867 Bar.

Floating Opera plans to play the entire album, titled “Pop Song on the Elevator Down,” at the release show. The Renfields will open at 9 p.m. and Tragic Jack will close things down.

Floating Opera formed in 1990 and has since had more than 50 members record and play in the group.

“We haven’t had a stable band where the same people play every show until around eight or nine years ago,” said founding member Richard Rebarber, who writes the foundations of the songs and plays keys. “Now we have a stable band.”

About eight musicians are in Floating Opera (four vocalists sing on the new record). The band never went on hiatus, Rebarber explained, in regards to releasing its first album since 2009.

“It takes a while because everyone is pretty busy and the recording is pretty elaborate,” Rebarber said. “There are a lot of instruments, and everything has to be recorded and edited and mixed. It just takes a lot of time.”

Remixing the drums set the process back another nine months, Rebarber said, and the band signed with a new record label.

Floating Opera has the same production value and intricacies as an orchestra, but produces a poppy, rocky sound. Instruments include keys, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, cello and violin. Expect all of this at the show Saturday night.

“It’s a relief to get the album done,” Rebarber said. “We performed for the first time in a year and a half at Lincoln Exposed. We’re really happy with that. It went well. … We’ll perform a different set on Saturday than from Lincoln Exposed.”  

While Floating Opera personnel has changed over the years – mostly singers and a few drummers – the sound hasn’t drastically changed, Rebarber said.

“The records have become a little more rock and less orchestral pop,” he said. “We still have strings, but it’s more rock. It’s a lot more elaborate since the first cassette (in 1993) and CD. I don’t think it’s changed that much.

“This (new) record is more cohesive because we’ve had a more stable band and it probably rocks a bit harder. I like to think it’s gotten better, too. I think it’s a bit edgier in general. It’s a pop record with loud guitars. It’s a pop record with a rock band in the back of it, but it’s also got strings.”

Rebarber pointed out something special about Lincoln: local musicians’ love of music and community fuels a band like Floating Opera, that used to be much more floating than it is now.

“In Lincoln, you can ask people to play and most of the time they say yes, or they might say yes,” Rebarber said. “It might be hard to make a commitment. But most people in Lincoln are pretty open-minded about that. I don’t think that true in most communities.”

For more information, check out Floating Opera’s website, which has T-shirts for sale for the first time ever. The album is also for sale on the website, but you can hear it live in its entirety and pick up a copy this Saturday at 1867 in Lincoln.

Annie Bohling is one of KZUM’s tireless interns.