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Almost three years have passed since the release of Royal Canoe’s sophomore album Today We Are Believers (2013). Those years were full. The band played 200 shows, which included tours with the likes of Alt J and Bombay Bicycle Club, and stops at major festivals like Bonaroo, Iceland Airwaves, and Osheaga. The hard work paid off: Today We Are Believers received critical acclaim, was nominated for Alternative Album of the Year at the Junos, and won Best Independent Album at Western Canadian Music Awards.
After two years of writing and recording between tours, Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit surfaced with a unique and intensified voice. It was co-produced and mixed by Ben Allen (Gnarls Barkley, Animal Collective, Deerhunter), who concentrated their sound-crafting attention on two fundamental elements: drums and vocals. Royal Canoe has always had an intensively rhythmic heart and that is more the case than ever. Their lyrics grow organically out of an addictive percussive flow and the unique topography of each track. Reinforcing their vocal and percussive core allowed them to be more adventurous with experimentation; more determined in their ongoing pursuit of the elusive musicality that can be found in collisions between digital and analogue worlds. In addition to their their usual buffet of synthesizers, effects pedals and homemade samples, late nights lead to to rabbit-holes of attaching contact mics to water bottles to play them like percussion instruments and convoluting synths through beluga whale field recordings.
In addition to a renewed sonic focus, Something Got Lost brings an emotional clarity. But it’s a particular kind of clarity: one you experience when what’s most clear is that you’re really unsure about what’s happening with your life or, unsure about what happened to the life you once took for granted, while you were off experiencing stuff, being busy, accomplishing things. Life, and especially the life of musicians, tends to be shaped by an ebb and flow of leaving and returning, cycling between an extroverted, transient mode of being and one of introversion and staying put. Within the broader cycles, even our most important relationships can shift, morph and drift, no matter how much we try to hold them steady.
Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit is out Sept 16 on Nevado, Embassy of Music and Moorworks.