When a band names themselves after
the world's only lactating contortionist, you know you are in for something
different; and as with the original act, you know that some people are going to
be fascinated, some will be in awe, and some will consider the whole lot to be a
complete and utter waste of time. This is a band of extremes: screaming and
pleading, ugly and beautiful, poetic and obscene, obvious and sublime. You can
think of them however you want. That is after all, the point.
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, Wade, George, Jesse and
Chris 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
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 their
self-titled 2002 debut album, the band has shot into the mainstream media like a
streaker at an All-Star game: 3 videos reach the top 5 on MuchMusic (the first
"hardcore" artist to ever chart at #1), a US deal with Equal Vision (cred-worthy
home of Coheed & Cambria), a sponsorship with Blink-182's clothing startup
Atticus, an MMVA nomination for the "Pulmonary Archery" video, a Best
Video Award for "Pulmonary Archery" at The Indies (Canadian
Independent Music Awards) , and the everlasting status as the posterboys for
hardcore crossover appeal. This may all sound like SOP for an up-and-coming rock
ensemble, but wait a minute; this is HARDCORE music - often described by members
of the band 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 boys in alexisonfire. Taking it all
in stride, they remain guile-less, affable, and capable of equal amounts of
sarcasm and self-deprecation. They rock the MuchOnDemand studios like it's a
sweaty all-ages venue in St. Catharines, which in turn is rocked like they did
when AOF germinated in the basements and rec-rooms of their now-proud but
baffled parents not so long ago. Their songs scream of intellectual fury basted
with ladlefuls of vocal pop melody; it's a bipolar magnet, and if you stop and
listen, or God forbid, see a live show, it'll all oddly start to make sense.
There's a new album in the can, and their latest video for "Waterwings"
is loaded with everything the kids love about them: power, emotion, humor, and
most importantly, Wade's interpretive dancing. Resistance is futile.
To You By: Much