By Liam Harrison
CALGARY — Living Hour is a four-piece dream pop act hailing from Winnipeg, Manitoba. After starting as a two-piece Velvet Underground cover band, guitarist Gil Carroll and drummer Alex expanded The Hours into a four-piece, releasing a string of singles, including a lulling, hazy cover of Buddy Holly’s “Words of Love.”
“When we first started out at the University of Manitoba, we were just having fun and getting by sounding like Silver Jews, Pavement, all that ‘90s indie rock stuff,” mentions Carroll on their origins.
“We’re not trying to write songs in a particular way and I didn’t even really know or like British shoegaze bands like Slowdive when we first started out. Nowadays…” he trails off. However, the British connection was quickly amplified thanks to the band’s later relationship with U.K. label Art is Hard, who placed latest single “Steady Glazed Eyes” on its upcoming compilation, Family Portrait PT. II.
“It’s an odd start but it’s great because it paints the bands as one big family and it means a lot that we’re track one,” remarks Carroll. “When we signed to Art is Hard, we definitely didn’t anticipate being in close connection with all these English bands, but now it’s great starting to see all of this European press come in.”
It was this extra press that pointed out that The Hours had some unexpected doppelgängers.
“We found out there was another band called The Hours,” admits Carroll. “Rather than a small-time act, these guys had toured with U2. We realised we couldn’t have that. We had to change.”
Unlike the frenzied indie rock of their labelmates, Living Hour’s music is patient, blissful and strangely animate. Latest single “Steady Glazed Eyes” gently fades into being as an ambling, cymbal-heavy beat anchors gossamer, sensual male-female vocals and ethereal, reverb-saturated guitars for four minutes of pure, transcendent dream pop. “Miss Emerald Green” meanwhile finds the band mixing Heaven or Las Vegas with the Beach Boys as buoyant, soulful melodies underlie chilling, passionate vocals and softly strummed surf guitar, completing a sound that is familiar, yet distinctly their own.
“We like performing the slower, dreamier stuff but we don’t stick to one thing. In our live show especially, we like to mix up the tempo and get the crowd moving. There’s still a definite cohesiveness to the songs that we’ve got, both live and on our upcoming album that we’ll be selling at shows,” concludes Carroll.
See Living Hour on Sunday, April 26th at Broken City with Windigo and Divepool.AB, Alberta, Broken City, Living Hour