Saving Abel could "put out a new album today if we wanted to," according to drummer Blake Dixon. But the Mississippi hard rockers plan to do some more work before finishing their sophomore effort -- and follow-up their gold-certified 2008 debut -- for release during the first half of 2010.
"Basically right now we've got the album pretty much finished, and I think if we put it out right now people would love it," Dixon tells Billboard.com. "But we want to make sure we're completely ecstatic with it." Saving Abel plans to return to the studio in January, he says. "Hopefully come up with just a few more tunes that are over the top -- kind of like how (the Top 20 hit) 'Addicted' was one of the last songs we recorded for ('Saving Abel'). We want to take a little more time and put a little more into it and just come out with the best product we possibly can."
Frontman Jared Weeks, meanwhile, says that the quintet does feel the pressure of expectations in the wake of "Saving Abel's" success. "You can't come out with something that's mediocre," he notes. "We just want to top it and keep going. It's a little bit of pressure...It just keeps us on the edge of our seats, where we should be anyway."
Saving Abel has been recording the new album with "Saving Abel" producer Skidd Mills at the Sound Kitchen studios in Cool Springs, Tenn. It's currently road-testing some of the new songs -- including "Hell of a Ride," "Bloody Sunday" and "Tap Out" -- which Dixon says represent the "heavier and raunchy" side of the new material. Weeks says that "we definitely want to have what the people want to hear" but adds that the group "might want to pull a trick out of our hat or something. You never know. We're in the process of trying to make things edgier."
Dixon says that he and his bandmates have also "become better musicians and better writers" thanks to the touring they've done in support of the debut album. And he notes that the new songs' lyrics benefit from that experience, too.
"We live completely different lifestyles now," he explains, "and it's a lot more interesting to write about them. It's kind of hard to write about pest control or bartending or working on K-Mart, which is what we were doing before ('Saving Abel'). The lives we live right now are a lot more interesting."
Saving Abel is currently on the road through Dec. 6, headlining the Class of 2009 tour with Red, Pop Evil and Taddy Porter.