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HPX spotlight: Cursed Arrows 

It’s not every day a great band moves to Halifax, so treat this duo well.

It's a sadly familiar story by now: band forms in Halifax; band gets big in Halifax; band leaves Halifax for the verdant and populous musical pastures of Montreal/Toronto. When any band does the reverse, it's noteworthy; when the band is Cursed Arrows, it's an extra bonus.

"It just seemed like the right time," says Ryan Stanley, who forms the band along with his musical/life partner Jackie. "We weren't leaving because we hated Ontario. We just felt a real pull to be out here, so we made a run for it." Stanley first played Pop Explosion as part of the revered Brantford, Ontario, post-punk outfit Vermicious Knid at a 2002 gig in Hell, along with the Burdocks and Contrived. "I've loved it here ever since," he says.

Anyone who saw the Stanleys' short, fiery appearance at Gus' Pub this past May long weekend knows exactly why they should live here—and why we're so lucky to have them. The songs of the Stanleys are strikingly melodious and heavy, with lyrics that address life and death and the world that surrounds us. They play a brand of dark, grungy, highly emotive music that fits into the current scene here like a missing puzzle piece. The pair were equally enthralled by five days spent in and around the city. "To be poor by the ocean, instead of these lakes," they rhapsodized in a July blog post.

And a new Halifax-based album is on the horizon—since the release of last year's Telepathic High Five, Stanley says they've produced 14 or 15 new songs, as well as loads of new covers. They've also been trading instruments back and forth, switching from drums to guitar, and even employing a drum machine.

"We don't really have a plan," Stanley says of their upcoming Pop Explosion show. "We'll just do what feels right, and then we can figure out what's next." –A

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