On Canadian quintet Fast Romantics’ sophomore album, Afterlife Blues, what passes as sweet, melodic and at times rustic rock n’ roll is really no less than a matter of life and death. Lyrically that is, as heard with the song “Funeral Song,” in which singer/songwriter Matthew Angus dives headfirst into themes of dying and re-birth. Though the theme may seem weighty, the message is delivered with such upbeat and catchy couplets that despite the title the song is undoubtedly a pick-me-up! Inspired in part by a serious break-up, Angus confides “On one level, there’s this cycle of heartache, or this dying and waking back up that is present throughout the whole record. But instead of being a downer about it, ‘Funeral Song’ was the happy part of that process, like the celebration part”.
Watch video for “Funeral Song” by Fast Romantics here:
Re-birth certainly speaks to Fast Romantics, who took four years in-between their debut album and Afterlife Blues (to drop on Pipe & Hat/Fontana North on October 8th). Riding high on the release of their debut album, the band was touring and receiving high praise for their Anglo-phile centered indie rock. Canoe Magazine called the band’s songs “tightly wound, sophisticated tunes that bring to mind Spoon and Blur.” However, it was
by the band’s own hand that they halted their momentum. Founding members Angus, Jeffrey Lewis (bass) and Alan Reain (drums) decided that musically they needed to re-develop the music they produced on record to match the sounds they carried in their heads.
Moving from Calgary where they were well-known to the big city of Toronto, the trio wood-shedded in self-exile for a few years. Speaking on the band’s nonplussed attitude
towards fame or outside pressure, Angus says “You have to understand, being from Calgary was very much like being on your own isolated island. We are used to being the outsiders, to being underdogs, to that end we don’t feel any pressure to be anything but ourselves.”
The new incarnation of Fast Romantics completed their line-up in 2011 with Australian ex-pats Shane O’Keefe on guitar and Lauren Heron on keys. The new material that the band wrote for Afterlife Blues, according to Angus, reconciled his love of pop music with the more rootsy Americana tinged rock that he had been ingesting in recent years. “I believe pop music can be gutsy like in the early ‘60s when you could just spill your guts, and people would thank you for it,” explains Angus.
Fast Romantics will be embarking on a full North American and Canadian tour in support of the album and plan to release another video shortly. For updated tour dates and album news, check the following sites.