Erika Goldring, Getty Images The four members of Little Big Town will…
- Posted on Sep 8th 2009 5:30PM by Steve McLean
Two Hours Traffic are releasing their new album at the cusp of fall, but the Canadian band's summery pop music has enough substance to sustain listeners year round.
The Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island quartet's 2007 album, 'Little Jabs,' received critical acclaim and decent media exposure for infectious, feel-good pop tracks like 'Backseat Sweetheart,' 'Stuck for the Summer' and 'Jezebel.' It earned Two Hours Traffic an East Coast Music Award for best pop recording and was one of 10 finalists for last year's Polaris Prize, but bigger things should be in store following today's release of 'Territory.'
The new disc doesn't veer far from the fine pop fare the band laid out on its previous Joel Plaskett-produced albums, but its 11 tracks are more fully realized and combine to create a more mature and consistent album."We've always been pop songwriters, I think, but we've honed our tastes a lot more," lead singer/guitarist Liam Corcoran tells Spinner of the group's progression. "We know things we like and have a better sense of what we're going for. We want interesting, edgy songwriting, but we still want to be accessible and want everyone to be able to enjoy it."
That shouldn't be a problem. The sunny melodies wrapped around tales of teenage love with which the band has made its name are exemplified by the album's title track, which delves lyrically into disillusionment and betrayal while guitars chime, drums pound and subtle harmonies complement Corcoran's vocals.
Plaskett, a former Thrush Hermit member, solo artist and Emergency frontman, is one of Two Hours Traffic's biggest boosters. But the band has also made fans of other influential folk: Award-winning Canadian documentary-maker Ron Mann ('Know Your Mushrooms') made his music video directorial debut with the clip for 'Jezebel,' and creators of MTV's 'Camp'd Out' chose 'Stuck for the Summer' as the show's theme song, which could create new avenues for the group.
"In the end, it just helps you to play more places and play to more people, which is ultimately what advances your career," Corcoran says of the exposure for himself, as well as guitarist Alec O'Hanley, bassist Andrew MacDonald and drummer Derek Ellis.
Group members will put their day jobs on hold -- "Alec and I are substitute teachers, Andy and I both work at Mark's Work Warehouse and Derek Ellis does construction," says Corcoran -- to tour across Canada through the early autumn and beyond to promote 'Territory.'
If 'Territory' is successful, Two Hours Traffic can focus on eclipsing another Charlottetown hair-rock band many Canadians might rather forget. Haywire debuted in the mid-'80s and are probably best known for the 1987 hit, 'Dance Desire.' They went on to release three gold and platinum albums and received the Music Prince Edward Island Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
"[Haywire] were big in a real way, not an indie way, so I think they still have the title of biggest band from P.E.I.," Corcoran concedes. "But we'll keep trying."