O.A.R. is eyeballing an early 2011 release for its next album, which frontman Marc Roberge says will hearken back somewhat to the quintet's earliest recordings.
"Sonically it's a lot like those first records," Roberge tells Billboard.com. "It's very islandy and...taking what we naturally love to do, which is put a pulse out there with our music. We want to people to feel good. Everyone's kind of been dim lately -- me included. It's been a darker time. Now it's time to put that down and look more positively towards the future."
O.A.R. has recorded about 20 songs in New York City with producer Matt Wallace, who was also on board for 2008's "All Sides." Roberge says the group plans to hit the studio again during the monthlong break between its summer and fall tours, and he doesn't rule out the possibility of coming up with some more material during the interim.
"We recorded and did all these things we're pleased with," Roberge explains, "but we felt like there might be more, so we're going to spend the summer out here touring, playing songs together, and if we need to go in and get one more or two more, we will. We've never done that in the past; it's always been rushed, and we just realized, what's the point of that? So we're just looking at these songs and dissecting them and making sure they're everything we want them to be. And if people hate it and it gets panned, at least I know it was 100 percent us."
O.A.R. has been previewing some of the songs -- notably the ballad "Over and Over," which Roberge co-wrote with Andrew McMahan (Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin), and the more upbeat "Gotta Live." The group hopes to add some guests to the album, but with a full slate of touring Roberge says that "we just haven't really gotten out there and tried to solicit the right feature. I have a lot of ideas, and if one out of five of these guests or opportunities that we have for this record come through, I'll have something to talk about."
An album title has not yet been determined, either, although Roberge says that's not for lack of trying. "I had one," he says with a laugh, "but the band can't agree on it, so we're going to just keep going until we get one we all love. We're just trying to make this whole thing a team effort. Everyone needs to put their stamp on this."
O.A.R. has just announced a 15-date early fall tour, commencing Sept. 15 in Tampa, Fla. Here are the tour dates:
Sept. 15: Tampa, Fla. (Ruth Eckerd Hall)
Sept. 16: Orlando, Fla. (House of Blues)
Sept. 18: Augustine, Fla. (St. Augustine Amphitheatre)
Sept. 20: New Orleans, La. (House of Blues)
Sept. 21: Houston, Texas (House of Blues)
Sept. 22: Dallas, Texas (House of Blues)
Sept. 23: Tulsa, Okla. (Cain's Ballroom)
Sept. 25: Pittsburgh, Pa. (PNC Park @ North Shore)
Sept. 30: Anaheim, Calif. (The Grove)
Oct. 2: Hollywood, Calif. (Hollywood Palladium)
Oct. 3: Santa Cruz, Calif. (The Catalyst)
Oct. 6: Seattle, Wash. (Paramount Theatre)
Oct. 8: Eugene, Ore. (McDonald Theatre)
Oct. 9: Oakland, Calif. (Fox Theater)