From left to right, Jake Laakkonen, Dylan Maxwell, Eric Niemi

Femur Releases For the Love of It

Story by Justin Allec, Photo by Josh Talakoski

The guys in Femur knew they couldn’t wait. As one of the city’s best-loved and hardest-working bands with the aspirations to match, the trio wasn’t about to let a pandemic scuttle their plans for a sophomore album. The band wanted to release the album, gently titled For the Love of It, regardless of whether people could go to shows or not.

Guitarist and singer/lyricist Jake Laakkonen sees it as the right move for the band, even if the music world is on pause. “The album was ready to go in September, but it got pushed back,” he says. “We think it’s important that artists keep releasing albums. We didn’t like the idea of sitting on material, because these songs represent where we are as a band right now.” Laakkonen, along with drummer Dylan Maxwell and bassist Eric Niemi, are interested in pushing Femur further, and the best way to do that, next to playing shows, is to keep writing songs. While Laakkonen jokes that Femur moves pretty slowly for a metal band, Love picks up directly where their 2017 debut Red Marks left off, and showcases an unbelievable amount of growth along with top-shelf production.

While a lot of heavier music can easily be shoved into the category of knuckle-dragging nihilism (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) Femur wanted a different approach with Love. Songs from their debut, like “Knife Fight in the Basement,” are impressive exercises in riveting, off-kilter metal, but lyrics like “this grave will feed you ashes/that you will never sow” don’t really describe where the band is nowadays. Laakkonen even goes so far to say that “I don’t want Femur to get pigeonholed as a negative band with stereotypical subject matter. It’s just more interesting to me now to bring in some light.” That feeling is reflected throughout the album, and makes the title a promise Femur tries to keep. For example, Love’s second single, “Brian Wells,” sees Laakkonen taking a first-person perspective in the bizarre murder of the coerced bank-robber, but ties it all back to love: “I can’t believe I had to die/Anything for love/What a price.” It’s so heavy it’s heartbreaking.
Red Marks and the supporting tours earned Femur some justified interest beyond our city’s borders, and the online response to Love has been fairly positive. “It’s a weird time to release a record,” Laakkonen says laughing, and he’s obviously disappointed that there won’t be the hype-building experience of an album-release show to celebrate all the hard work the trio has put in. Despite that, Femur isn’t going anywhere, and once stages open again, rest assured they’ll be more than happy to see you.