In 2006 Crosstide released Life as a Spectator. The album came on the heels of a locally released EP, which independently had several songs in heavy rotation on Portland commercial radio. Life as A Spectator would take the band around the country and up and down the West Coast. It also earned substantial college radio time, even cracking into the top 20. At the time, Crosstide was opening for the likes of Spoon, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, and Nada Surf.
Things soon began to unravel. During a calamitous trip to SXSW, the guys' van broke down in middle of nowhere, Utah. After amassing a rather large credit debt, they made it Austin the very moment they were to go on. The next morning, bassist Nick Forde announced he would be leaving the group to move to New York.
Stress over the band's uncertain future was compounded by a storm of family turmoil seemingly concocted by Zeus himself! Crippling illness and drug addiction within member's families would cast a tone of triviality on failed showcases and van trouble.
It was amidst and in the wake of this chaos that Crosstide completed their third album "Walls of Home". Musically, it is an intentional departure from their last record, which was largely about things not fitting -- idealism not fitting with reality -- on a personal and political level. "I had just come out of a pretty big bout with depression when I wrote Life as a Spectator," says Vogel. "It was a very hungry record, but it definitely believed that some sort of food was just around the corner."
Walls of Home has all of the hunger and idealism of the last record, but it's no longer certain of any relief. Recorded largely by Crosstide guitarist, Rian Lewis, between the band members houses and a cabin in Washington, Walls of Home is a very real sounding record. While Life as a Spectator seemed well aware of the record industry looking over its shoulder, Walls of Home sounds too dazed to notice. Its influences are also more American, drawing largely on the moody atmospherics of Big Star's Sister Lovers, and REM's jangly Fables of the Reconstruction. There aren’t much of the Bend's era guitars and Bono-tastic yearning that filled the last record either.
Personnel-wise, there has never been a better Crosstide. Childhood friend and solo artist, Bryan Free, took over duties on keyboards from Erick Alley, who now mans the bass. "We just love playing together. We're best friends who have been through a lot together. It's not uncommon for me to look around the practice room while everyone is doing their thing and wonder how the hell I got so lucky," says Bret of Crosstide’s current configuration.