Published Sep 24, 2009Even a band that make great driving music are sure to encounter a few bumps in the road. But for Edmonton's prairie rock outfit the Wheat Pool, those little difficulties are a valuable part of the album-making process.
The quartet's sophomore release, Hauntario, due out on Shameless Records on October 6, is the result of plenty of push and pull on a number of levels.
Vocalist/guitarist Robb Angus explains that the album's title stems in part from the conflicted feelings that Western Canadian musicians often have for the population centre of the country.
"As a band, there's always that implied notion that if you want to get noticed or you want to make it as a band you have to get to Toronto and have success there," Angus tells Exlcaim! in an interview. "When you're a travelling band, it's sort of a target for you. You can't really resent it. If you want to fight it, you can fight it, but it's just sort of always there."
The album title was also inspired by the dark tone of the first few songs Angus had written for the collection. In fact, Angus says he finds it hard to write anything but the kind of haunting ballads he's drawn to as a listener.
"I really, really love sad songs, I always have," he says. "Whether it was Blue Rodeo or Ryan Adams or Phil Collins, if it's a really great ballad, I'm in love with it immediately. So, I often find when I'm sitting down to write that those are the kinds of songs that I try to write. And the conflict is that I don't ever want to have an album that's entirely filled with these slow, emoting, depressing songs, and if I didn't police myself, that's probably what I'd end up with."
The struggle to strike a balance between the Wheat Pool's two styles resulted in an album that Angus says is a darker, grittier collection than their debut, 2007's Township.
"We'll never get away from the country sound completely, and I don't ever want to get away from it," he says. "But this time we left more of the country behind and went a little more with the dark pop. I think we're definitely headed down that road."
And as any true traveller - or musician - knows, the journey is just as interesting as the destination.
1. "This Is It"
3. "Right Arm"
4. "I'm Not Here"
5. "Too Far Apart"
7. "One of These Nights"
8. "Nervous Bird"
10. "Selfish Guns"
11. "Two Far Apart"
10/3 Edmonton, AB - The Pawn Shop (CD release party)
11/21 Camrose, AB - Scalliwags Pub