Wednesday, January 11, 2012

When You Left the Fire by The Wilderness of Manitoba



When You Left the Fire by The Wilderness of Manitoba


Something special happens when the four members of the Wilderness of Manitoba sing together, whether it's in the basement of the house on Delaware Avenue in Toronto where three of them live or in the garage out back where they sometimes staged their own shows including their live debut. The band recorded most of their new album When You Left The Fire as well as their EP Hymns Of Love & Spirits in their home studio. They learned not to rely on electric instruments, although they now use them, but on the strength of their voices and melodies.
The process of recording the new album was different in that, when Stefan Banjevic and Melissa Dalton joined the band, most the of the songs for the EP had already been written by Will Whitham and Scott Bouwmeester except "Evening" which was written by Will's mother in the sixties. For When You Left The Fire, Dalton says, "Everyone had input on the new songs from the very first listening, sometimes on the same day that the song had been written." They gave each other songs to work on so they ended up with a couple of songs that had music by one person and lyrics by another. These collaborations, the addition of Sean Lancaric on drums and percussion and the use of new instruments like lap steel created a fuller and more varied sound. "The new assortment of instruments changed the colour of the songs and helped shape our growth as a band", observed Bouwmeester. There is a lot of fire imagery in the lyrics and When You Left The Fire reflects a sense of longing and loneliness that permeates most of the songs on the new album. Dalton states, "It recalls someone or something crucial being left behind, perhaps for a greater purpose which gives the impression of hope, but still it has a definite ring of sadness to it." Adds Bouwmeester, "When You Left The Fire is a line from 'Hermit' that stands out, especially at the end when Melissa sings it. It's a title that pulls the whole album together." The feedback for Hymns Of Love & Spirits was immediate and positive. The EP went to #5 on the CBC Radio 3 charts and created opportunities for the band to play more shows, including being invited to play the Camden Crawl in London in May and the End of the Road Festival in Dorset in September. However, the changes within the band had already taken place and most of the songs for the new album had been written before the EP was even released. Dalton points out, "As for whether the added attention impacted our writing, not really. I think you keep writing how you write otherwise you lose that essential part of who you are and how you express yourself through song. It has to be genuine."

1 comment:

Kristjan said...

Like always, you write about some group and I check it out. Listening to "Mother tongue" at the moment.
At first I thought it`s not my cup of tea, but then the guitar started playing and I had to change my mind.
Seems to be a lovely group.