Fast Romantics race onto the scene

JESSE LOCKE - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 4:07 AM ET

Racing their way into the local music scene, The Fast Romantics are one of the most promising new bands listeners are yet to catch up with.

That said, this piano-driven Brit-pop/indie-rock four-piece are not in fact all that new.

They've been at it, under the radar, since 2005, and played with three of their members under the moniker, The Mood, for three years before that. That project gained them national airplay on both commercial and college stations, national press coverage, and a spot on Chartattack's top 40.

Yet, according to lead guitarist Matthew Kliewer, there was still something missing.

"I think The Mood was a very rushed project with a good group of musicians," he says.

"We had received a grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts with a deadline to have an album finished within a certain time. However, I dislocated my right shoulder during the writing process.

"Between that and maybe having some first-time 'real' studio jitters, we simply didn't have the confidence behind the music that we wanted to get across to our listeners.

After we had recorded that album, we were a little surprised that it was well received, especially in Eastern Canada. So the band got tighter with our live performances and we vowed to take our time and do it right with the next one."

Taking encouragement from the success of Canadian crossover acts like the Arcade Fire and The New Pornographers, original members Kliewer, singer/guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Angus and bassist Jeffrey Lewis brought in drummer Alan Reain.

Revitalized as a quartet, they re-branded the band and started cranking out tightly wound, sophisticated tunes that bring to mind Spoon and Blur. The group has only played a few shows in this incarnation so far, but are now gearing up to hit the stage with five gigs before Nov. 1.

"I suppose we've taken ourselves out of the local scene while we were writing, choosing to stay in and write instead of going to play with songs that didn't have the confidence we wanted behind them," explains Kliewer.

"Now that we're about to finish the recording and release it, we want to expose the project to the public."

Despite shying away from the spotlight in Calgary, Kliewer says the group is very supportive of the local scene, mentioning a few venues and artists in specific.

"Calgary's always sort of seemed like a city on the verge of erupting with a music scene that could be taken seriously outside of our city limits. I think it's still like that today -- on the verge. There are some great venues to play like Broken City, Liberty Lounge, and the Ship & Anchor, but there are simply not enough of them to give all of the good bands in this city a fair chance.

"I've also really enjoyed listening to some of our local talent on the radio and in the bars," he continues. "Secret Broadcast, Hurricane Felix & the Southern Twisters, Chad VanGaalen, Reverie Sound Revue, The Ostrich and Axis of Conversation are some of my favourites."

With their new full-length nearly finished, the time seems right for The Fast Romantics to speed into the scene. However, they actually have their sights set on something more bright.

"When the album comes out. we're going to promote it with a national tour, but we don't have dates for that until the tapes come back fully mastered," says Kliewer.

"We've also got our eyes on a European tour, but that'll be after we've come home from a Canadian one and have had a soccer breakfast at the Ship.

"We're not striving to be rock stars, but we're each so passionate about playing our music together that we want to continue writing and performing for as long as we can."


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