Alexisonfire rose up out of the Southern Ontario underground in late 2001
like some monstrous and utterly captivating car-accident-in-progress.
Hitting the ground with an immediate full head of steam, Dallas Green,
George Pettit, Wade MacNeil, Chris Steele and Jordan Hastings have not
only impressed the critics with their sour/sweet approach to performance
and writing, but are recognized for their stellar musicianship, and the
palpably pent-up tightness of the band live.
This is music for both sides of your brain. In your left ear, the poignant
and melodic vocals of Dallas, injected with the devilishly sweet phrasings
of the axe-wielding Wade, speak of impulse and introspection. In your
right ear, George offers the testimony of the tortured soul, syncopated
power-scream vocals that energize and counterpoint -- a couple of cartoon-character
angels and devils sitting on your shoulders, offering 2 very different
interpretations of the same musical message.
Alexisonfire knows that the fans aren’t stupid. The fans know the
real deal when they see it, and in the case of AOF, they seem to have
told 2 friends, who told 2 friends, and so on. During the year that followed
the release of the self-titled 2002 debut album, the band has shot into
the spotlight like a streaker at an All-Star game: Gold Record certification
in Canada for both debut and sophomore albums; 5 videos reaching Heavy
rotation on MuchMusic, 2 MMVA awards; New Group of the Year at the 2005
Junos; album releases and major tours in Japan, Australia and the UK.
This may all sound like SOP for an up-and-coming rock ensemble, but this
is a band that often describes its music as “the sound of two Catholic
high-school girls in mid-knife-fight”. This hasn’t happened
before. Nobody is more aware of this fact than the St. Catharines’
natives. Taking it all in stride, they remain guile-less, affable, and
capable of equal amounts of sarcasm and self-deprecation. And with the
new album “Crisis”, Alexisonfire have, dare we say it, matured.
With songs ranging in subject matter from the Blizzard of 1977 which paralyzed
portions of the Niagara and Northern New York region, to disenfranchised
steadfast employees, the album on a whole embodies a much darker theme.
AOF attributes this to traveling around the world the last couple of years
then coming back home and seeing things without rose coloured glasses.
As for writing the album, the process was much more “rhythmically
liberal” than anything the band’s ever worked on. There was
no format, no formula. Alexisonfire wasn’t concerned with making
a “hit” or following any “rules”, just creating
songs that the greater sum of each part loved to play live. They wanted
to create songs that were anthemic. They wanted to play songs that hit
kids in the chest. This translated into the mindset the band took into
the studio. AOF stripped everything down and learned to write and record
a record that captures the essence of the band’s live sound, without
looping or overdubs or layers.
So if you stop and listen, or God forbid, see a live show, it’ll
all oddly start to make sense...
For more on Alexisonfire, check out www.theonlybandever.com