The last time we checked in with this local pop/rock quartet, they were called Boys Who Say No and were headed off for a residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. A lot has happened since, culminating in this impressive debut full-length that finds the band’s eclectic and lavish impulses focused and fine-tuned by some indie rock heavy-hitters.
They used their time in the mountains wisely, refining their sound, changing their name to Future Peers and recording demos with Broken Social Scene’s David Newfeld and Kevin Drew as producers, mixers and mentors. The demos caught the ear of Grammy-winning producer Shawn Everett (Julian Casablancas, Alabama Shakes, Weezer), who invited the band to record the bulk of the resulting self-titled album at his L.A. studio.
It opens with Better Left Lost, an upbeat head-bopper recorded with Newfeld and Drew in Banff, which – thanks to singer Luke Correia-Damude’s Wolf Parade/Walkmen-style vocals overtop a Chairlift-worthy bass line – sounds like it could have come out of Montreal’s loft scene or mid-00s NYC. Everett’s influence shows up on dancey retro nod Time Went Away, which stacks harmonized guitars and vocodered vox over a heavy groove. His gift to the band, besides a super-polished sound, is managing their profusion of musical ideas. The songs are more focused and efficient than those on their early releases, but they still contain plenty of complex structures and textures beneath big guitar and vocal hooks.
Standout moments include noisy singalong Too Reserved, brooding epic closer Ex-Teens and album showpiece Start A Fire, a bona fide art-rock anthem-in-waiting that starts with a cool Pixies-ish synth bass under distorted guitar stabs and builds to a huge chorus in the vein of Talking Heads or Arcade Fire. The perfect soundtrack to winter in the city, it will stick in your head for days.
Top track: Start A Fire
Future Peers play a release show on Friday (December 9) at the Baby G. See listing.