There’s nothing quite like forging your own path through the crowded world of today’s music scene.
But that is precisely what Toronto-based indie rockers, the Fast Romantics, have managed to do in a relatively short period of time. Their latest CD, American Love, will be released April 28th, and they perform at the International Beer Haus on April 26th.
As described, “American Love features 12 anthemic ‘heart-on-your-sleeve’ and lyrically relevant tracks, including the new single Why We Fight which hit #1 on the CBC Radio 2 chart knocking out Adele, as well as their infectious SOCAN Award-winning breakthrough song Julia,” which exudes a kind of charming, ‘retro’ feel but is clearly a polished, modern rocker at the same time.
Why We Fight captures so much of the what this band is really about – an unmistakable sense of authenticity built on a bold, compelling and innovative sound.
Produced by Gus Van Go and Werner F, American Love is the follow-up record to the band’s 2013 release Afterlife Blues.
“On a whim I called them up and showed them a demo for Julia, and they were ecstatic. We just connected,” said frontman Matthew Angus of joining forces with the producing team. “They understood exactly what I wanted to do – they ‘got’ me as a singer and a songwriter which is the most important thing for a producer, that they understand what you are trying to do.
“They are also really challenging guys – for the first time I felt really, truly challenged to be better and to rethink things.”
American Love is described as being a nod to, “The type of cinematic storybook romance American pop culture has conditioned us to search for, but also explores the realities at play off the silver screen that can wreak havoc on burgeoning love.”
Angus recalls that in the early days of the band, he wanted to take a lot of time to write and figure out what he wanted the group to be about, and that he also wanted to take the band out on the road before they even had put out a record.
“That way, we could figure out who we wanted to be and get to know everybody and get really tight. And that was the plan.
“What actually happened is that it also influenced the songs in an amazing way,” he recalled. “We did a first batch of songs and then went out and toured America and Canada, and then I came back and thought these songs aren’t really relevant anymore.
“So that’s why we ended up taking so long (with this record). The songs really became a product or a reflection of us traveling around both countries and experiencing all of the changes that were happening, and all of the political stuff that was happening,” he said. “The songs also ended up being paintings of what it felt like to fall in love while the rest of the world went mad. The American election went bizarre and took over the Canadian one, everybody’s obsession with social media hit some kind of peak, and suddenly everyone – everywhere – was talking about America.”
Still, he said American Love is by no means a political protest record.
Rather, he described it as, “A series of reflections by a non-American songwriter living so close to the border, hyper-aware of America and its influence on Canada and the people around him.”
Angus said the band’s history stretches across the country to Calgary, where it was initially formed.
“That was the first band – Jeff, the bass player and I along with some other guys played out there. We decided to move to Toronto and over the course of making some records and things, it just kind of fizzled out about three and one-half years ago.”
It was time to re-evaluate.
“We ended up starting a new band but keeping the old name.”
In his own life, an introduction to music came early with his piano teacher mom and and his dad who was a huge music fan in his own right with a terrific taste in music. Angus also found the guitar after awhile (“all of my idols were playing it”) and he also discovered his voice – although he wasn’t thrilled with his vocal abilities at first.
“It’s one of those voices that fell down the stairs and ended up being something decent,” he said with a laugh.
Hailed as an ‘Artist to watch’ in 2017 (Google Play), the Fast Romantics is today comprised of Angus, Jeffrey Lewis (bass), Kirty (vocals, acoustic guitar, synth), Kevin Black (guitars), Lisa Lorenz (keyboards) and Nick McKinlay (drums).
Known for their incredible live shows and songwriting prowess, the band has also received many accolades over the past few years including ‘Pop Group of the Year’ at the Sirius XM Indies (2014) and more recently their song Julia won the ‘SOCAN National Songwriting Prize’ in 2016.