Fueling the momentum behind their latest disc, Crash Karma is including Red Deer on their fall tour.
They perform Oct. 4 at The Vat.
When they roared to life with their debut album in 2010, the members of this Can-Rock dream team — singer Edwin (formerly of I Mother Earth), guitarist Mike Turner (ex-Our Lady Peace), drummer Jeff Burrows (The Tea Party) and bassist Amir Epstein (Zygote) — were musical peers with separate but equal pasts.
Almost three years later to the day, with their fittingly titled sophomore album Rock Musique Deluxe, they have grown into a band of brothers with a shared musical vision.
“When we first got together, I didn’t know the guys,” says bassist and main songwriter Epstein, who set up the musical blind date that launched the band in 2008.
“I wasn’t friends with them and they weren’t friends with each other — which I actually thought was kind of strange, being that they were in three of the most successful bands ever in Canada.
“They had crossed paths when they toured, but they weren’t super-tight. So we weren’t very comfortable in the studio. Everybody was on their best behaviour. If someone made a suggestion someone else didn’t like, there wasn’t much criticism. Nobody wanted to offend.
“Since then, we’ve played together, we’ve recorded together, we’ve toured together. And we’ve become close, a bunch of buddies. We know everything about each other now — all the dark secrets. So it was a lot different in the studio. We were comfortable with one another, we were honest with one another, we were open with one another.
“And we all ended up making a stronger album because of it.”
That cocktail of camaraderie, confidence and creative conflict is the spark that ignites the high-octane Rock Musique Deluxe.
Co-produced by the band and studio veteran Terry Brown in their Toronto hometown, the lean, muscular album takes up where previous hits like Awake and Fight left off and heads into new sonic terrain.
“You can tell that there’s a maturity in the band,” Edwin agrees.
“It’s a step ahead, not a step back. It’s not remaking the same record. It’s a natural evolution. You could put it up against the first record, but it doesn’t sound like the first record. It sounds like a newer, fresher Crash Karma.”
Beneath the album’s brains and brawn, however, beats a sincere, passionate heart.
The bulk of these 11 songs introduce protagonists standing at life’s crossroads and running emotional gauntlets.
“The way I see it,” explains Edwin, “The first record had a lot of angst and a little bit of love. This record has a lot of love and a little bit of angst. And from my perspective, the songs are more singable.
“We put a lot of backing harmonies on this one. On the first record, we tried not to use too many harmonies so it didn’t sound sweet and pretty. But this time, the songs really lent themselves to a diversity of harmonies. But ultimately, it’s not like we’re playing be-bop or anything. It’s still a rock album.
“I know there’s still a lot of rock fans out there. I don’t think rock is dead. I think it will always make a revival in some form. And if we can have a part in that revival, in making it front and centre a little bit, I would be greatly honoured.”