Jul. 11, 2012 - Issue #873: The Big Cover-Up
Fri, Jul 13 (9 pm)
With Scenic Route to Alaska, Nick Everett
The Elwins are keeping it real. The foursome has crafted a debut release evoking soulful lyrics backed by upbeat melodies and a healthy dose of old school vibes, all played on, gasp, real instruments rather than the synth-heavy beats of modern pop.
Hailing from Newmarket, Ontario, the band began as a duo spearheaded by Matthew Sweeney and Travis Stokl. The pair went to high school together and had spent years writing original material. Sweeney and Stokl eventually made the decision to expand, and recruited high school friend Feurd, who had left for college, and Chris Shannon through the local music scene.
Now, the band is touring across the country to promote its debut full-length album, And I Thank You, which was recorded over a month spent at the secluded Bear Creek studios outside of Seattle with Bill Moriarty and Ryan Hadlock.
"It was the best recording experience I've ever had," Feurd says of the cottage-like studio. "We went into Seattle maybe twice to see a show, but really, just to be able to focus so much and really just live the recording process for a whole month was such a treat."
And I Thank You was completed last summer, but the band took some extra time getting advice from close confidants before releasing it to the public. The end result is a retro-influenced blend of pop crafted with expert musicianship and vintage-inspired harmonies rarely heard in mainstream music.
"I guess as a debut, we just wanted to try and represent the songs, and you know, our kind of vibe as well," Feurd says. "I guess that's a bit of old school pop like from the '60s, like The Beach Boys and The Beatles."
The album title continues the playful sense that resonates throughout the disc, despite the lyrics being on the more serious side at times. Feurd explains it began as an inside joke about Sweeney and Stokl's driving instructor. The man had a very thick accent and when he would phone to arrange lessons, he would end each conversation with the phrase, "and I thank you." As time went on, the meaning grew to encompass more than humour.
"We were playing around with that being the album title and it kind of took on a new meaning as well, just saying thank you to everybody who's been a part of it and who's listened to the music and helped us out," Feurd adds.
In addition to its debut release, the band has toured with Arkells, Tokyo Police Club and made appearances at major festivals including SXSW and NXNE.
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