I Mother Earth's fourth and latest album seems destined to perplex.
As singer Brian Byrne and guitarist/producer Jagori Tanna tell the story, drummer Christian Tanna, Jagori's brother, simply stuck a forefinger in the air one day and proclaimed "I've got the name of the album. It will be The Quicksilver Meat Dream."
IME's latest 11-tune offering, which hit stores April 8, also features equally strange track titles including 0157:H7, Soft Bomb Salad and a wandering eight-minute epic, one portion of which is subtitled That's Quite an Erection Eric.
Over third and fourth cups of coffee at Ottawa's ARC.thehotel bar, hours before an Ottawa listening party for fans earlier this month and two days after their album hit stores, Tanna and Byrne say Christian has so far refused to explain his logic in naming the album. The meaning, they explain cryptically, is open to each listener's interpretation.
"If you go through our package, all the lyrics, everything makes perfect sense," says Tanna.
Silly titles aside, Tanna and Byrne say there was a time in making the new album when the process wasn't making any sense.
"We ended up writing about half of the album and then scrapping it," said Tanna. "It was the best thing we've ever done."
"I think Jag especially had the foresight, and his brother Chris, to say if we actually do this, in six months or eight months when we're playing live, we're going to be bored to tears, miserable," said Byrne.
Quicksilver is the second album since Byrne joined the band after former frontman Edwin departed for a successful solo career, a followup to 1999's Blue Green Orange.
Byrne first officially fronted the group during Our Lady Peace's Summersault tour in 1998 and the members are now tired of talking about that acrimonious split with Edwin.
Doing so, they say, would be akin to the girl who can't stop talking about the guy she broke up with years ago.
"This is my band," said Byrne, quickly correcting himself. "This is our band."
"He's been part of the band for so long," explains Tanna. "It's over now."
What's not over is the band's determination to do things their way. On Quicksilver, recorded at the band's Toronto studio The Mother's Hip, the group laid down the meandering anti-formula songs they wanted to first.
It was only then they turned their attention to adding some sort of radio-friendly singles, including the first now in rotation, Like the Sun, to appease the suits at Universal Music.
"Our lack of compromise is our biggest downfall," says Tanna. "But it makes us succeed on an artistic level and that is worth more to us."
With record sales in decline for the band itself and for musicians in general -- Tanna calls them "the carp" in the entire financial process of making music and touring to promote it -- IME (rounded out by bassist Bruce Gordon) focused on satisfying themselves and their fans in making their latest album.
"I always say we're a multi-platinum MP3 band," jokes Tanna.
I Mother Earth plays Barrymore's tonight with 40 Foot Echo and local rockers Clarknova opening.
Tickets are $10, doors open at 8 p.m.