Album of the Week: Kid Canaveral – Now That You Are A Dancer
YAASS! Much in the same way that PAWS giving us Cokefloat! last year was greeted with near hysteric levels of excitement by the Scottish indie world (well, we all gazed at our shoes a little bit harder, at least), the arrival of Kid Canaveral’s second album is a cause for celebration every bit its equal.
As with the PAWS album, the slew of positive reviews the Fence band can expect, won’t just be down to relentless hard work and being rather lovely people. What we have here is an album that will absolutely 100% deserve the love it’ll get. It’s canny, laden down with tunes and – uh oh – mature.
You may as well brace yourselves for numerous “my, haven’t they grown” references at this point. It’s fair to say they’re in the post, but completely merited. The band that wrote Smash Hits years back will be wondering what the blazes their older selves are up to, leading off an album with a subdued, serious single like Low Winter Sun, which you’ll obviously know well if you’ve any vague interest in Scottish music at all. Serious it is, but what a chorus – no less hummable than anything on Shouting at Wildlife.
Subtlety they’ve done before, but perhaps not like Skeletons, which starts out as a Kate-helmed strum-along before building into a FOUND-esque electro banger. Epic closing track The Compromise is also new territory with huuuuuge amp-worrying guitars, spiralling towards a ferocious finish.
The songs shouldn’t be unfamiliar – Now That You Are a Dancer has been heavily trailed, with a packed Electric Circus gig over the summer and the annual festive Baubles gig ensuring fans got exposure to the tunes nice and early. Low Winter Sun aside, not many of the tunes particularly stood out at either show, but maybe that’s lanced the possibility of the album being a slow burner. By the time we hit the recorded versions, the likes of The Wrench and Who’s Looking at You, Anyway? felt like old friends, and to that end were instant hits.
Who’s Looking at You, and later track Without A Backing Track – which feels like a sister tune – also prove that it’s not all scowls and pouting* here, as they both gleefully cover themes of public ridicule (although we’re confident there are deeper and darker themes once the surface is scratched).
So, both thumbs up then. Whether Now That You Are a Dancer will expose Kid Canaveral to a bigger audience is a question for another day. For now, let’s just admire how much they’ve gro… [SNIP].
David and Kate were foolish enough to take on our questions. Again.
Will this album piss off the loyal fans who loved Shouting at Wildlife?
David: I’d like to think not. In fact, I doubt it. It’s quite a different record than the first one. It’s more coherent, I think, and it works better as a whole. It still sounds like us, though, and the songs have been well received as we’ve gradually incorporated them into our live sets over the past year. It was funny because you could see some folk really concentrating when we played the new stuff at our Christmas show. Some of the songs will be quite familiar to those who’ve seen us a few times in the last 12 months, as we’ve been playing ‘Low Winter Sun’ and ‘The Wrench’ for ages.
Kate: I can’t see Shouting at Wildlife fans being disillusioned. We set out to with the same goal as the first album, to make a really good pop record, but hopefully people will see and appreciate a progression and improvement too.
How was the writing and recording process?
D: It was a lot shorter than the first record. I have a notebook which I filled up with notes and ideas for songs throughout the promotion of Shouting at Wildlife. It was meant to be for writing down song ideas only, but it’s full of songs, sums relating to Visa costs, venue contacts, Xmas Baubles ideas, how long it takes to drive across Ohio… That sort of thing. I also had lots of voice memos on my phone consisting of as little as four notes from a guitar to most of a song (unused) drunkenly sung into it. I put all the song bits and pieces together in the couple of months after Baubles II and we recorded in a few different sessions between February and September at 4th Street Studios in Glasgow. I was hooked up to three amps when recording the final track ‘A Compromise’ and smoke started to come out the back of one of them. That was a fun song to record.
K: I think the process was smoother and a whole lot more coherent than on the first LP. It’s the four of us throughout, playing everything and I think we’ve learnt to play our instruments better, and how to play together better too. Gal (sound engineer/co-producer) really helped shape it and keep us on track too, but also give us the confidence to go in directions we didn’t necessarily expect when we started out.
Does being on a label change anything? Does having the ah, ‘corporate might’ of Fence behind you help get the message out?
D: It’s nice to have someone else coordinating things and offering advice – Fence have definitely helped get us to a wider audience. They actually told us they didn’t like the way one of the songs on the album had turned out. I was pretty annoyed at the time, because I thought we’d drawn a line under the mixing sessions and thought of going back to record something again was anathema to me. However, it turned out much better after I’d re-recorded the vocal and we remixed the song. In hindsight, we’d rushed that last song because the album had already been delayed due to having to cancel a few sessions. You can’t expect someone to invest time and money in something that they’re not 100% behind. It puts your mind at rest knowing that you’re working with people that you can trust, who believe in what you’re doing.
K: Everything is pretty much exactly the same, except for that crippling million pound debt of course. I knew we shouldn’t have recorded that new video in LA… Please buy our album…
Shows! You must have shows to promote this, right? Tell us about them
D: We’ve got loads coming up. Here are the ones that we can announce so far, there’d be even more if this was this time next week:
1st March- The Glad Café – Glasgow *SOLD OUT*
2nd March – The Glad Café – Glasgow *SOLD OUT*
9th March – Bull & Gate – London
16th March – Beat Generator – Dundee
29th March – Roadhouse – Manchester
30th March – Wales Goes Pop! – Cardiff
6th April – Gnome Game – Anstruther
26th April – Old Bridge Inn – Aviemore
25th May – Now We Are! Weekender – West Bromwich
7th June – Heartattack & Vine – Newcastle-upon-Tyne
8th June – Long Division Festival – Wakefield
6th July – DoubleDotDash Festival – Reading
*It’s not scowls and pouting at all. But the idea of David pulling such faces is amusing.