Two Hours Traffic has dubbed its new album Foolish Blood. But Liam Corcoran, the PEI indie-pop troupe's frontperson, adds it's inspired by a serious classic---a line that bassist Andrew MacDonald came across while reading James Joyce's "Araby."
"It describes the moment when your impulses and desires are telling you to do something, that your rational mind knows to be a bad idea," Corcoran says of the title, excerpted from one of the legendary Irish author's short stories. "Several songs on our new record deal with that old struggle between desire and good judgement."
While the brief Joyce reference is featured in the song "Faster 4 U," Corcoran cites another Foolish Blood track which further evokes that restlessness: "Strangers in the Street" particularly its lyric: "I believed in every film that said/well you might as well be dead/if you cannot be in love."
"There is no metaphor there, it's just a simple line that sums up what I've been trying to say for a long time. It's all about the search for true love," Corcoran says, before adding with a laugh, "What happened to me? I used to play hockey."
But Corcoran tapped into that sensitive side of song writing long ago, unveiling tenderly quirky indie-pop tunes like "I Feel Naked Without My Cellphone," on THT's 2005 self titled debut. He and his fellow Charlottetown-bred bandmates---drummer Derek Ellis, guitarist Andrew MacDonald---called Halifax a second home in those days, after recording a few albums here with local indie hero Joel Plaskett helming the production.
But in order to step out from their beloved lanky mentor's shadow, Two Hours Traffic recruited Nathan Gill as itsnew bassist and relocated to rural Ontario to record with producer Darryl Neudorf (of Neko Case and Sarah McLachlan fame). He says the new elements helped the band become more experimental.
Drummer "Derek Ellis built the rhythm track by banging on all sorts of different things, including plastic garbage cans, hunks of metal and even a crowbar," Corcoran says, before citing THT's heartier rhythm section as another example on the fresh tune "Amour Than Amis." "Derek lays down a really cool, intricate drum beat, and then you have the relentless bass chugging on top of it. We've never made a song like that before."
The new setting had much to offer Two Hours Traffic, but Corcoran says Halifax will always be one of his most beloved locales. He still fondly remembers the first time the band played the Halifax Pop Explosion in 2004---not only because of the way they connected with the audience, but also because of the way they became part of that enthused throng.
"We shared the bill with The Museum Pieces, who played from their masterpiece record Philadelphia. It was incredible to see them live," Corcoran says of the show. "If that wasn't sweet enough, the Arcade Fire were playing upstairs on the Marquee stage directly after our showcase ended. So we simply walked upstairs and saw one of the best shows of our lives, with about 800 other lucky folks."
Two Hours Traffic
w/Coyote, Heavy Meadows
Saturday, March 2, 9pm, $13.50/$15
The Seahorse Tavern, 1665 Argyle Street