The Fast Romantics are one of Canada’s most prominent new acts. Their fresh brand of Indie Rock has driven the Calgary band to several festivals, live tours, MTV Live, and television shows like Vampire Diaries, One Tree Hill, and Pretty Little Liars…all in just five years. Perhaps we should add the title of hardest working into this brief description. They have set the course to tour with abandon and complement time on the road with the creation of their sophomore LP Afterlife Blues, which the song I am reviewing below finds itself on.
Three former members of the Calgary-based band The Mood formed the Fast Romantics in 2007 – Matthew Angus, Matthew Kliewer, and Jeffrey Lewis. The band quickly added a drummer (Alan Reain) and hit the tour circuit before cutting an album in 2008. In 2009, the band was selected as one of the finalists of Spin Magazine’s “Free the Noise” competition and hit New York to perform at CBGB. Since then the band has added Laurna Germscheid on backup vocals and keyboards and John de Jesus on lead guitar. The resulting combination has produced this sound.
It is very easy to like the Fast Romantics. Let me explain. Actually, I don’t need to explain. The music is simply exciting, productive, infectious, and just plain good. All you really need to do is press play and enjoy the song – even if it is their funeral song. But I am going to go a little more in-depth here so stick with me. The beginning features an intriguing mixture of compounding noises. I am absolutely gaga over the immediate piano and lead guitar play. I love the split riff and pretend disorganization. It accentuates that indie bar feel, as if you hear the piece and immediately pick a partner and prepare to dance. A whistle prefaces the main riff’s rhythm that leads into the vocals. Perhaps my favorite part of this song is the create use of harmony. The line-finishing blend of voices is beyond fun, it’s skillful, a true sign of a band that knows what they are doing. I’m also loving the excellent bass guitar work. Comparison seekers, I will say I hear a blend of Arcade Fire, Bell X1, and Talking Heads, but I mostly just hear the advancement of the sound that the Fast Romantics depicted in their first album. It is now more expansive, but despite the additions, tighter and well-formed.