Joshua Powell, a Midwest folksinger, took a different approach to "The Commonwealth" than he did on previous albums, setting out to write, arrange, record, and produce this EP on his own, from his bedroom. This served to capture a rustic intimacy - the same kind that endeared people to Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago," or to Nick Drake. Showcasing the band's stylistic turn, "The Commonwealth" sees less electric guitar and more banjo, less divergence and more clarity, less polish and more grit. It is a three-song concept record about questioning the ideas of civilization and of savagery. From the essay accompanying the album download, Powell writes: "These songs, named for [the principles of a commonwealth] question what it means to be a human and to carry the blessed distinction of being the only animals having these questions with which to grapple. They are a cut-rate catechism to hold council with our alliances and saboteurs: how we define the American dream, how we relate to God, how we handle injustice, and how we arrange the furniture of our values. These songs are my open-ended shot at what it might mean to be a savage. I hope you enjoy them."