In its inimitable nautical rock 'n' roll style, A History Of smashes a bottle of champagne on the bow of its debut album, Action in The North Atlantic, November 14 at Club 1668, along with York Redoubt, Bad Vibrations and Cold Warps.
The first full-length release by the band, Action in the North Atlantic expands on its debut EP, featuring frantic math rock, while adding in a more experimental edge. The sound is exciting, cohesive and bracing. Even the recording started off with a little adventure---guitarist-vocalist Jeff Parker nearly careened into J. LaPointe's studio, Archive Mastering, via its icy driveway. "I pull up, barrelling down the driveway and I see him look up from shovelling, waving his arms. I slammed on the brakes, spun sideways and went into a ditch," says Parker. "If I hadn't have done that I would have smashed into his wife's car or the studio."
Luckily, that's the closest the band has come to a disaster in its career. Formed in the summer of 2006, the group features members of The Plan, Tomcat Combat and Gamma Gamma Rays: Lance Purcell, Noel MacDonald and Mark Grundy, respectively (Grundy replaced bassist Andrew-Gordon MacPherson after he moved to Montreal), touring eastern Canada three times and opening for bands like Jay Reatard and Crystal Antlers.
They're a band that collaborates heavily---often, the three lyricists will all write parts for the same song and tie them together, resulting in a call-and-response vocal style. Action in the North Atlantic also showcases one of the tightest rhythm sections in town, Grundy and Purcell. "When we were mixing the drum and bass, every time the kick drum would hit, the bass would be right there with it," says MacDonald. "I think it's the mark of a really smart rhythm section, I think we're really lucky."
"Also, we recorded in analogue and couldn't really change things," says Parker. "So we're lucky in that respect, too."
On the first day of recording, LaPointe stated that he didn't want a computer to touch the record, and none did.
"Recording with J. was such a great experience," says MacDonald. "Just driving out in the woods in the middle of the winter to record on this tape machine from Connecticut where the last thing recorded on it was a Willie Nelson record."
Commenting on the sea-worthy theme of Action in the North Atlantic (featuring nautical art work by Yo Rodeo), Parker states simply, "I like boats."
"We're really trying to tap into the tourist market," jokes MacDonald.
"I like themes about disasters and historical things," says Parker. "I'm not an inherently angry person. Our music can sound angry, but when you look at the lyrics, it isn't."
"With historical themes, there is so much strife and emergencies that lend well to urgent math rock," says MacDonald. "It seems to work well together."