Late Spring: Art, rock, and transformation

By Eric Campbell
Photo: Lauren Ray

Photo: Lauren Ray

VANCOUVER — Do you ever wish a season could last forever? Late Spring have just released their second album, Invisible, and it conjures all the melancholia of those fleeting and beautiful days we want to hold onto. And although it’s been the album that best captures the band so far, their eternal creative spirit will surely see them change with the season before long. It’s a swirly and cinematic dream-pop affair, paired with shoegaze guitars like “electric static before the storm.” The Vancouver-based band is fronted by KC Wei, an inspired artist of many mediums with a penchant for rock ‘n’ roll, film (Late Spring takes its name from her favorite Japanese film), curating shows and, what she refers to as, the “popular esoteric.” Although faced with overhauling the rhythm section before their album release this month, the band chose not to slow down, but grow instead.

“This record is my baby. Everything I am goes into it. It’s the thing I’m supposed to do right now,” Wei states with a smile and all the zeal in her eyes of an inventor on the cusp of a destined breakthrough. On the “thunderstorm” guitar is Nik Gauer, who is a brilliant foil and arranger to Wei’s initial song ideas. Gauer and Wei formed the band back in art school when they realized the “need for music in [their] lives” after years of studying contemporary art. Their chance meeting in this creative climate is reflected in the music; the term “art rock” is apt, given the detached cool this band surely masters. You can picture Andy Warhol having a blast projecting his films atop of them.

The wall of guitars on Invisible are often both towering and sweeping, yet at the same time, clamorous and thoughtful. Standout tracks such as the garage rock tinged “Loser” and “Tough” begin with a psychedelic serenity, though with the burgeoning rumble of the band, it’s pure vertigo by the end. Plaintive lyrics repeat until they become catastrophic ruminations of daily life. “I got better things to do,” Wei shrieks in one such vocal explosion. And you’d be scared to death to argue with her. Perhaps most confounding of all though is the track “Sweet Thing.” Just when you expect the guitars to surge into total 1980s shoegaze outer space, it gently turns out the light in the room. The sudden sense of detachment juxtaposes the initial reassurance of the gorgeous lullaby lyrics, “It happened before and it can happen again.” A potential theme that nothing is as simple as it first appears comes to stunning fruition throughout the ten songs.

This summer will be a fun one for Late Spring, filled with festival shows (Music Waste, Khatsahlano, Sled Island) and new music to be recorded with producer Jesse Gander. Wei’s closing remarks on the band were focused on what they hope to convey as artists: “Ya know, the fleeting beauty of experience and life, but subtly through the rock ‘n’ roll vernacular.”

Late Spring is fully panoramic on Invisible and it deserves and demands all of your attention.

Late Spring perform at Red Gate on June 3. Invisible is out now on Agony Klub Records. See them during Sled Island in Calgary June 22 at Broken City.

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