by Sheena Millar
EDMONTON – Sitting by a poorly insulated window in a pub watching chilly people huddle around their cigarettes in downtown Edmonton feels like a little of my usual as I wait for F&M to arrive. The pair is currently doing press for the release of their sixth studio album, Lessons From Losers. Upon arrival, Ryan Anderson orders a bottle of red wine before Rebecca Anderson has even fully taken her jacket off.
Once one of this city’s best-kept secrets, you’d now be hard pressed to find anyone in the local music scene that hasn’t become enamoured with the duo’s baroque-pop sound. Through Ryan’s achingly honest lyrics to Rebecca’s pleading vocals, their somber yet inviting melodies have enchanted local crowds over their decade-plus making records. Whether hardcore punks or sweater-vesters, they wouldn’t have it any other way.
F&M’s latest, Lessons From Losers, is an album ripe with intention, often asking more of us than simply to listen. “The title is meant to be thought and conversation provoking, rather than a prescriptive statement” suggests Ryan, before turning to Rebecca. “Becky has a wonderful way of describing things. This is really Rebecca’s record.” His point is solidly made upon listening to any of the nine tracks on the album, with their defiant and sometimes threatening tones, as though they are almost daring you to join them. Rebecca describes the creation of the album with startling vulnerability.
“I believe the illustration that Amy Freelend created for Lessons From Losers portrays how I relate to this album. The hare and the magpie are at one in repose and on high alert. I feel that many of the songs that I sing lead on have an intense energy. I took my voice in a different direction than past albums by allowing myself to break, falter and even wail. Now the songs where Ryan leads tend to pull us back into a more controlled state. The exception is Ryan’s “Scribbles on a Sheet.” However, even that song starts with erratic fervour, then the second section of the song pulls us into a more languid happier place. This album balances a lot of give and take. It’s a wondrous beast that’s both sweet and wild.”
They are truly at their finest when they are sharing their world with you. Ask any loser, success is meaningless if it can’t be shared with the people around you.
F&M release Lessons For Losers Friday Sept. 21 at the Aviary, hosted by Rylan Kafara, and featuring guest performances from Mike McDonald, Tanyss Nixi, Wendy McGrath, and more.Edmonton, F+M, Lessons From Losers, The Aviary