Tyler Jackson of Foam Castles may maintain a calm demeanor, but the guy has had a crazy cross-country journey. He started in Maine with a new record (“Night Crawling”), and hope springing eternal, he then headed to L.A., maybe because there was gold in them hills or maybe because he just needed to get out of here.

Whatever the reason, the sojourn so stirred Jackson that he’s brought his sugar-crusted, sunny-day sound back across the Rockies and the great Mississippi to lucky us in Maine.

The Foam Castles is an open, ever-evolving concept with a host of diverse musical voices, be it the soft guitar up front or the Leslie organ creeping around the forthcoming “Molly’s Jungle.” The anchor, though, is soft, deliberate lyrics, crafted with gentle syntax, never pushy.

To call the Foam Castles a well-kept secret would be a woeful cliche but, well, the reviews have been sparse and overwhelmingly positive.

Summer’s in the wind, you can usher it in with the Honey Clouds CD release on Friday at Space, featuring the pop-shimmered Foam Castles (www.myspace.com/foamcastles) and Tan Vampires. 

How does “Molly’s Jungle” differ from its highly acclaimed predecessor, “Night Crawling?”

The new Foam Castles album uses mostly different personnel than the first two. It’s probably the best sounding record, because more time and effort was put into making it sound professional, which can be difficult using only a computer and borrowed equipment. A big difference is that Ritu (Moondra) doesn’t sing on it, as she did with the first two, because she’s still in L.A. 

What did you want to do when you got back to Maine?

I had an album’s worth of songs to work on when I got back, and an opportunity to record with some of my favorite musicians in Portland.

Were you surprised by the reaction to “Night Crawling?”

Even though it was a minimal response, I was very surprised that even a few people took to it as they did. It was never even officially released – just online for free, and a few CD-Rs.

What’s your favorite collaboration with a Maine artist so far?

The nature of the project calls for different musicians all the time, so it would be impossible to name any favorites. Especially on the new record – it’s peppered with some locals greats of today.

How does Foam Castles’ roster get mixed up between the studio and the stage?

“Molly’s Jungle” features Michael Beling on piano; Tyler Jackson on vocals, guitar, bass, percussion and keyboard; Jay Lobley on lead guitar, organ and bass; D.J. Moore on drums, percussion, melodica, microsynth, guitar and organ; and Tyler Quist, who plays bass, organ and synthesizer. So it was a group effort. Ritu Moondra also contributed lyrics. It looks like the lineup for shows will be a consistently changing thing, but for the Friday show, it will be the entirety of Brenda (myspace.com/brendaslicer), which is D.J. Moore (drums), Josh Loring (guitar), Peet Chamberlain (bass); Jay Lobely of Metal Feathers/Cult Maze is playing guitar and singing backing vocals; Tyler Quist is playing keys. So there’s six of us.

How did your relationship with Peapod Records come about? 

I have been in touch with Ron Harrity about various musical things over the past few years. He mastered the new album and offered to put it out on Peapod Recordings, which I happily agreed to, as it is a real label and one that many great bands from Maine and beyond call home.

What’s the record five years from now bound to sound like? 

I think Foam Castles is and always will be an effort to make good, interesting pop songs. So hopefully something like that, as long as we’re enjoying making it.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.

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