This Ship might be the heaviest east coast band to wield synth keytar. But the lighthearted bunch gets serious in a heartbeat, just as quickly as a melodious Ship verse shifts into chorus roar.
The band's latest EP, What's Left to Burn, trades the hypnotizing layers of its debut for three live-off-the-floor burners. The songs steeped in vocal harmony and complex rhythm build to bone-powdering crescendos---what guitarist Bethany Fulde likens to "a rock and roll kick in the ass."
Much of that captured energy has to do with the recording at artist haven Le Pantoum, "a big loft in the heart of Quebec city, a screenprinting studio, a recording studio, a live venue. It's really beautiful," says Fulde. The group was fresh off an intense touring stint and "went in blind on purpose, to see if we could hit the ground running," says keytarist Justin Wiles. The short time in Le Pantoum helped the band explore. "I'd never seen anything like it, some of the best sound I've heard. The difference between the environments was also pretty substantial, we recorded in a big room with high ceilings---a lot of reverb," says bassist Jordan Stephens. It took a mere week to hash out What's Left To Burn.
The Quebec punk scene seems to have made waves with the Ship, as the new EP tackles darker subjects. "Many our songs revolve around the destruction of the bourgeois or bureaucracy," says Wiles.
"It's not that we're a political band," adds Fulde.
"We like our planet a lot, we're concerned," says Wiles.
If the latest tunes have the band seeming existential, there was the time they almost died: "We had a tire almost fall off crossing the Champlain Bridge [in Montreal], holding on by two or one lugs...The van was kind of clunking we thought it was just a flat tire, this guy was driving by us, rolls down his window and we're like yeah yeah, we know we've got a flat tire and it's literally almost off the fuckin' van. We missed our Ottawa show because of that," says drummer Adam Martin.
For a band scarcely together two years, they've toured Quebec and Ontario with a Pop Explosion showcase to boot. What's the secret to their speedy launch? Friendship, of course.
The gig in Le Pantoum grew from staying with Quebec City tourmates Leafer, who Fulde and Wiles were able to book through their Halifax music collective group Berserker Lion.
"I booked them three shows around the Maritimes, we just really connected, decided we wanted to help each other. That's what it's all about, creating relationships that are going to work with other people."
The DIY community-mindedness has served the band well. CKDU is sponsoring from their Halifax show with a dollar from every ticket going to the station for CKDU's funding drive.
"The shows we book for ourselves are more successful than when we let someone else handle those administrative tasks. Berserker Lion is a necessary element of that, we just gave it a name. It's given me an opportunity to do a lot of graphic design for a lot of bands I admire around town," says Wiles. "We are really trying to create a seamless experience with our music---not a whole lot of talking during shows---we try to invite you into our world."
This Ship w/Fast Romantics, Pioneer Video
Friday, November 22 at 10pm, $8
Michael’s Bar and Grill, 6100 Young Street