Cultivating the unique moments when a first take becomes the final cut, or when a fleeting idea turns into a fully realized creation, has become something of an unofficial philosophy for Current Swell. Considering the pace they have set in recent years — including a first place win and $100,500 top prize at Vancouver’s Peak Performance Project and sold-out headlining tours of Brazil and Europe — Current Swell had no reason to re-write their approach heading into the sessions for Ulysses, the band’s anticipated second release for Nettwerk Records.
Not after a six-year run which has positioned the group as one of the bright lights on the Canadian musical landscape. But here’s the thing with Current Swell. When it comes to the process of songwriting, touring and recording, the four friends from Victoria, BC, are compelled to improve as artists, to better what they did the last time around. Motion is everything to singer-guitarists Scott Stanton and David Lang, drummer Chris Petersen and bassist Ghosty Boy, so they decided to give an old partnership a new coat of paint.
During each of the four previous Current Swell recordings, Stanton and Lang largely wrote independently of each other, working in tandem only when the band got into the studio. For these sessions, the two bandmates sat down face-to-face on a number of occasions. The rules were kept loose on purpose, so that both could look at the other’s creations in an unfiltered light. “For this record, we really worked together, even if it was a half-finished song,” Stanton said. “Sometimes, it was nothing but an idea or a chord progression or a melody, and we’d sit there and write an entire song together.”
Over the span of three critically acclaimed full length albums (2017’s Asilomar, 2013’s Fathom Lane and 2012’s Down By Half) Fathom Lane has been getting international attention for their wonderfully indefinable sound. Michael Ferrier’s songs are at once accessible and memorable, but are also sneaky with their quietly innovative touches. Ferrier cites classic touchstones such as The Velvet Underground, Tom Petty, Gram Parson’s Cosmic American Music, and the Laurel Canyon songwriters, but even with these influences Fathom Lane manages a contemporary sound. The blend of Ferrier’s steady and simple tenor with fellow singer Ashleigh Still’s more mellifluous soul is a main feature of the rich sound Fathom Lane brews; the band invite their listeners in and then delight them with audio surprises.