Published Feb 19, 2010"Whatever we can find that makes noise goes." That's guitarist/organist Michael Dawson's concise description of Library Voices' approach to musical arrangement. The Regina, SK power pop collective have ten members, and their "anything goes" style is on full display on the debut full-length, Denim on Denim, due out April 13 via Young Soul/EMI.
The album follows 2008's EP Hunting Ghosts & Other Collected Shorts, and was recorded with electronic music producer Orion Paradis in a room in the back of a dance studio.
"We'd be out in the front making coffee in the middle of kids rehearsing to music from Beetlejuice or something," recalls Dawson, speaking to Exclaim! from his home in Regina. "We had to build some sound barriers so we weren't scaring the heck out of the kids."
Studio sessions stretched over nearly a year, and were broken up by numerous tours. The already-lengthy sessions were drawn out even further when the band decided to scrap the near-finished product halfway through, rebuilding many of the tracks and transforming the feel of the record.
"I don't think a single song is even recognizable compared to the version it was at that point. We almost redid the whole record," reveals Dawson.
As you'd expect from such a meticulous process, the end result is beautifully orchestrated, with lush instrumentation and note-perfect performances. Lead single "Drinking Games" begins with AM soul harmonies, sampled rain sounds swelling to a gorgeous guitar pop crescendo, augmented with purring organ and tickling glockenspiel.
This rich instrumentation doesn't sound overblown, largely thanks to vocalist Carl Johnson's down-to-earth lyrics; the song paints a vivid character portrait of a young woman, as Johnson sings, "It's the way that she drinks like she's cursed/She's dancing to the Cure." Meanwhile, a background saxophone mimics the horn melody from the Cure's "Close to Me."
This month, Library Voices will be heading out on the road for a brief pre-album tour, playing a handful of Western Canadian dates, including five shows at the Vancouver Olympics. This includes a performance at the 60,000 seat BC Place, where the group will be playing at one of the medal ceremonies, as well as at the Saskatchewan Olympic pavilion.
"Brent Butt from Corner Gas is the MC and we just play a couple of songs and they put together some videos about Saskatchewan that go with the songs," explains Dawson.
Look below for a full list of tour dates, as well as the tracklist for Denim on Denim.
2/20 Vancouver, BC - Saskatchewan Olympic Pavilion (9 p.m.)
2/21 Vancouver, BC - Saskatchewan Olympic Pavilion (9 p.m.)
2/22 Vancouver, BC - Saskatchewan Olympic Pavilion (9 p.m.)
2/23 Vancouver, BC - BC Place (Medal Ceremony)
2/23 Vancouver, BC - The Railway Club
2/25 Kelowna, BC - The Habitat
2/26 Calgary, AB - Gateway (SAIT)
2/27 Edmonton, AB - The Pawn Shop
Denim on Denim:
1. "Drinking Games"
2. "Insider Trading (On Outsider Art)"
3. "Haunt This House"
4. "Party Like It's 2012"
5. "Write Me a Myth"
7. "Bodies of Fiction"
8. "Model City"
9. "End Times"
10. "Family Night"
11. "Balloon Menagerie"
12. "Hello, Cruel World"