By Jason Schneider
Cape Breton's Villages follow up their acclaimed 2019 self-titled debut album with a three-song EP entitled Upon the Horizon, which takes their dazzling combination of indie folk, experimental pop and sun-bleached psychedelia to new heights.
The band has also announced they will play in Halifax on Friday, Dec. 11 at the Marriott Harbourfront, with tickets on sale now at sonicconcerts.com. As well, their show in Fredericton at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre has been rescheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10. All tickets purchased for the original date will be honoured.
As a preview of their next full-length album due in 2021, Upon the Horizon is Villages' most dynamic and exploratory work yet, recorded at New Scotland Yard studio in Dartmouth, just after Nova Scotia lifted social distancing rules in July 2020. But what makes Upon the Horizon stand apart from the band's preivous work is its mix done by American indie rock legend Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Modest Mouse, Built To Spill, The Shins, Father John Misty, Band Of Horses). For Matt Ellis,Travis Ellis, Jon Pearo and Archie Rankin, it was not only an honour to work with one of their heroes, but a validation of their distinctive musical approach.
Ek's distinctive touch was exactly what the four members of Villages were looking for, since the songs as written aimed to transcend the sense of isolation and dread that accompanied pandemic restrictions. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Ellis says, “Being locked up naturally conjured visions of escapism. Escaping to the wilderness has always been a way to find peace, but when even that was not an option it was yet another thing that had been taken for granted.”
The fact that Upon the Horizon came together so quickly is a testament to the creative roll Villages have been on over the past few years. They had been touring Canada right up until March 2020 when pandemic restrictions were implemented, and began writing new material immediately after, not wishing to lose any momentum.
By embracing the unique aspects of Cape Breton music and combining them with highly personalized songwriting and innovative production techniques, Villages are proving that striking the right balance between the past and present often yields stunning results. Having achieved that with Upon the Horizon, Villages have also secured a place among Canada’s most soul-stirring bands.
Purchase and streaming links are HERE and you can watch the video for "Upon the Horizon".