As a fresh, but very dedicated Canadian music blogger, one of the toughest tasks is finding that next great thing. It is easy to rehash articles about seasoned performers, personal favorites and the like, but with the seemingly endless emergence of new artists competing for their slice of the audience, an artist has to really separate themselves from the pack to grab my attention. A few artists have risen to this challenge, and Team GDW have been more than happy to write about and promote their material.
Back in early 2016, I was listening to one of the select few radio stations that I gravitate to, keeping my ears tuned for something new and exciting to accelerate the heart rate. If we are to consider music as our idea of addiction, then scoring that next big fix has to be a continual challenge. And suddenly, the rush of endorphins exploded on my own personal Richter scale when I experienced my first taste of the Fast Romantics and their radio hit “Julia.” Just who was this band? This song was so fresh and modern, yet oozed the cool retro appeal that many current artists are incorporating into their sound. But after hearing this a few times, it would be a few months before I would encounter this band again.
With the release of “Why We Fight,” The Fast Romantics proved to not simply be a one-hit wonder (in the sense that I knew nothing of their previous works). “Julia” was radio-friendly and fun, but “Why We Fight” took this act to a new level. Great sounds, great production, great lyrics, and a completely addictive piece of music. Okay, Fast Romantics, you had my undivided attention now. Searching in vain for the song on CD (so eager to forget doing online research, and to just bulldoze into music outlets with one mission in mind), it would be several months later when the “American Love” album would be set for release.
Knowing that this was an essential piece for our music collection, we promptly requested our favorite independent record store owner to order and hold the vinyl version for us. A weekend in Canada followed shortly, and after spending time with our ‘dealer,’ the fix was provided and this one was finally mine. I was ecstatic to see that “Julia” had made this album, even though it was a much earlier release. Bonus points to the band for having such foresight. Spinning the vinyl a few days later, this proved to be an absolute gem of an album. Everything is here that a listener like me expects: catchy lyrics, wonderful melodies, and a distinct mixture of material that no track sounds alike and retains its freshness to the final cut.
Launching immediately into “Everybody’s Trying to Steal Your Heart” (which would later become the next single release), the Fast Romantics had me hooked. They had not only grabbed my attention, but continue to hold it, and I must confess that this one has been spun a few times recently. Yes, there are radio-friendly tracks that stand out, but for me, tracks such as “Runaway Girl” (great bass line – a surefire way to make me notice) and “Alberta” are absolute delights.
Just listen carefully to the musical nuances that tantalize the senses and you will quickly realize how much imagination and creativity is on offer here. The Fast Romantics have successfully combined their own unique sound with that retro vibe; resulting in a very enjoyable musical journey that provides a momentary sense of pure escapism from reality. And while it may be easy for some to label them with that ‘eighties synth throwback’ tag, every track here is fresh, and most importantly, timeless. Go ahead and listen to “Kids Without a Country,” which shares similarities to the sound of the Arkells, and thus (by default) categorizes itself up there in the presence of great company.
The Fast Romantics have just embarked on a promotional tour across both Canada and the USA, and while they do not venture into our neck of the woods (or happen to be in the parts of ON that we visit frequently), we know for certain that a live date with this band is imminent. Hopefully any reader here can sense how enthusiastic I am about this band, and I urge all of you to immerse yourself in this album immediately.
Footnote: I happened to notice a reference to Steve Singh on the album credits, who I discovered has worked previously with the band. This would be the same Steve Singh with whom we were fortunate to meet recently during a Ron Hawkins event in Peterborough. Ah, the musical community really is a close-knit one. Hopefully we’ll have the good fortune to encounter The Fast Romantics live and in the flesh real soon too.