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A glimpse at Freak Heat Waves’ live improv and next record

By Michael Grondin
Arranging, rearranging and always in flux. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Arranging, rearranging and always in flux.
Photo: Courtesy of the artist

CALGARY — The music of Victoria’s Freak Heat Waves almost has a texture you can reach out and feel with your fingertips.

This West Coast four-piece works within structured walls, but their experimentation and raw attention to detail works to dismantle such boundaries.

Lead singer and guitarist Steven Lind says Victoria offers a positive environment for his band to test their sound.

“Victoria has a very supportive music scene, everyone knows each other and everyone plays together. There’s a lot of positivity. I don’t really know how it affects our sound, mainly it’s just a place to incubate ideas,” says Lind during a phone call from Halifax after playing the Gridlock Music Festival.

Their visceral and colourful post-punk — its elements of late ‘80s no wave walks atop grainy synth lines, all of which build and build into bouncing walls of sound — is a feast for more that just the ears. Sharp, twinkling guitars, choppy drums and hushed horn textures create a balanced sound for Lind’s deep, monotonous vocals.

However, Lind says there is a dichotomy between their recording and live performances, which sees the band attempting to alter their songs in a more natural fashion.

“We just kind of play pretty stripped down. On the records, we have a lot of synths and drum machines and studio stuff that we don’t try to replicate too much onstage,” he says. “We try to improvise more and have our live shows be a bit more free with a lot of energy rather than just backing tracks.”

And with such a goal in mind, they accomplish unique performances unbound by expectation.

“We don’t really think of it as trying to perform our record, that wouldn’t be as fun for us. We always approach it as a new thing. We rearrange songs all the time, and change our sets up and try to create new versions of what we have done,” says Lind.

Freak Heat Waves have released two albums to date, 2012’s self-titled release and 2015’s Bonnie’s State of Mind, both of which are executed with maturity and a clear vision.

Lind says they recently finished recording and hope to release their third full-length within the next year.

“The main difference between this one and our first two records is it was written and recorded before we played any of the songs live. Before, we would write and play and tour and then record them,” explains Lind, expressing excitement for their current Canadian tour.

Freak Heat Waves perform in Winnipeg at The Handsome Daughter on August 14th, at Wascana Band in Regina on August 15th, at Amigos in Saskatoon on August 16th, at The Buckingham in Edmonton on August 17th, at Broken City in Calgary on August 18th and at The Cobalt in Vancouver on August 19th.

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