The Fast Romantics are on the Rise
Fred Astaire, Abe Lincoln part of the process for this opening act at the Said the Whale OnStage concert
What does it mean to fall in love in the 21st century? American Love, the aptly titled forthcoming album from Toronto indie-rockers Fast Romantics, is a nod to the type of cinematic storybook romance Hollywood has conditioned us to search for. And this is a literal phrase. In their 2014 hit single “Julia,” included on the album, the band used as the “set” of their video the famous “Ceiling Dance” from Royal Wedding with Fred Astaire.
The Fast Romantics hail from Calgary and now use Toronto as their base. Members are Matthew Angus, Kirty, Jeffrey Lewis, Kevin Black, Nick McKinlay, and Lisa Lorenz.
But in real life, love is often subject to chaos beyond our control, and American Love doesn’t deny the social and political turmoil we’re living through. The next song, “Why We Fight,” debuted at #8 on CBC’s Radio 2 Top 20 for February 2 this year, moved up to #1 on February 9, and remained there on February 16.
“I was falling pretty hard in love when we started the record,” explains front-man, lyricist, and K-W native Matthew Angus. “But the rest of the world went mad. This bizarre election in the United States started up just as everybody’s obsession with social media hit some kind of peak, and suddenly everyone was talking about America. It started seeping into the songwriting, and now I’m not even sure what came first. Are they love songs about politics or political songs about love?”
But Angus insists that American Love, produced by the dynamic duo of Gus Van Go and Werner F (Arkells, Wintersleep, Whitehorse) is not a traditional protest record. Rather, it’s a series of reflections by a non-American songwriter living so close to the border, hyper-aware of the United States and its influence on his own country. This duality is reinforced by geography itself, as the songs on American Love were recorded over two years alternating between Brooklyn and Toronto.
“I don’t feel like these songs are set in just one country. Borders are blurring,” Angus says. “What does it mean to be Canadian, or American, or Chinese, or British? We’ve all got Twitter, we can all stream the BBC, but does that mean we’re becoming the same? There was this international identity crisis happening in both countries, and I found myself caught in the middle of it while trying to write a bunch of love songs. “
The Fast Romantics open for Said the Whale as part of our OnStage series on Friday, April 7th. Buy your tickets now for a night of intimate indie rock.