"If our sound has an optimistic feel to it, it's probably because we all really feel that way," says Leagues drummer Jeremy Lutito. Yet the Tennessee native doesn't believe positivity is missing in modern popular music, even as it becomes increasingly fragmented and boutique. "I think people connect deeply with what's honest, whether it's dark or uplifting."
Though Leagues' membership is spread across several time zones, it's ostensibly a Nashville act. Thad Cockrell, less a Christian musician and more a musician who happens to be Christian, returned to Raleigh in 2008 after overworking himself in the music industry hub. In 2010, he and local bassist Mike Simons tapped Lutito and Minnesota guitarist Tyler Burkum to form Leagues, and the players convened in Nashville. But, unexpectedly for a band featuring veteran hired guns, the music was written collaboratively rather than following a preset vision.
Their three-song EP, released in June, references the clarity and punch of the Police and U2. "Every falling out brings us back to loving," Cockrell sings reassuringly atop a reggae-rooted groove in "Mind Games." And in "Haunted," he celebrates his closeness to Christ and reminds us, "Everybody's got a heart worth breaking/ Everybody is the one that got away." Colourslide opens. —Corbie Hill