White Lung Do Their Homework

BY Nicole VilleneuvePublished May 23, 2012

White Lung had one goal when it came time to make their sophomore album: no filler.

Their debut, 2010's It's The Evil, was itself a quick hit, coming in at just over 20 minutes of the same high-stakes post-punk chaos that defined their previous singles and pushed them towards breaking out of Vancouver's long-gestating "weird" scene. But singer Mish Way says that whatever force it packed in its brevity was lost on her over time.

"There are certain songs on It's The Evil that I listen to and they actually make me sick," she says from her home in Vancouver. Without sacrificing the intensity, Way wanted to focus on melody this time, but figuring it out required some homework.

"All last summer on tour, I was listening to a lot of different stuff, everything from Janitor Joe to the first Strokes album to Boss Hog to Helene Smith. Every time I'd come across a song I really liked and I thought the melody was really strong, I'd be making notes, like, 'Why do I like this so much? What about it isn't working?' Just trying to figure out how to write better melodies. And I also didn't want to scream as much, because my throat gets sore."

The research paid off ― Sorry clocks in at a lean 19 minutes, and the proper pop-song choruses of tracks like "Bag," "Glue," and "Bad Way" tag-team with the album's other highlight, guitarist Kenneth McCorkell's relentless, squealing textures.

The band ― rounded out by drummer Anne-Marie Vassiliou and bassist Grady Mackintosh ― employed a similar last-minute writing approach as last time, often finishing a song the night before a scheduled recording session. But unlike the last album, this time, they've had a little more time to gel, giving them a tighter grip.

"When we wrote the first record, Kenny was relatively new, and now we're like a real band and know each other so intimately from touring and being together all the time. We're just tighter. It's very focused."

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