2012 has seemingly been a year of resurgence where vetted rock bands continue to release new albums after years – even decades – of hiatus. Vancouver’s gritty indie rock quartet Ladyhawk have their own pictorial of evolution, dating back to their 2006 self-titled debut with their last album Shots released in 2008. Fast forward to present day and expect guitar-invested, anthemic, sonorous lo-fi rock to permeate on the band’s third studio album No Can Do.
The 10-track LP, released October 9th, was recorded out of The HIVE Creative Labs, once again with Colin Stewart.
“We’ve always worked with Colin and at first it was difficult to communicate, we used weird words to describe what we’d want, but now it is so good I’d be nervous to try someone else – it just makes sense, and he keeps getting better, ” explains Darcy Hancock (lead guitar, vocals).
Here lies an album that is deep-rooted in shoegaze sludge, one that could easily be the soundtrack for 1996′s That Thing You Do flick.
Tracks including “Window Pane”, “Evil Eye” and the titled single “No Can Do” clock in just over the two minute mark, and coat with a thick fog of groove and gut-punching guitar shreds a plenty. The succinct and filling tracklist is not a fluke.
“That’s how Duffy likes to write. He did a solo album and everything was even shorter than this album; it’s a certain style of pop-like music or AM hits style with solo sections and at the end of it all, very to the point,” Darcy explains.
Although the album is new, all the songs are not, but the focus is freshly pressed.
“This album there are 6 songs we didn’t play live (4 were played live four years ago). We had to learn how to play the new ones – we used to be really stubborn about having to play live. We’re not jammers, our practices are only an hour and half long; focused energy in short periods.”
No Can Do brings forth a compilation of channeled rock tuneage with an energized repertoire of thematic songwriting and breezy Duffy Driediger-backed vocals. Over the years the band has gear shifted between doses of show benders to breaks in their own music soil, helping to balance an on stage bandmanship and offstage friends dynamic. Sometimes it’s about reshuffling the deck.
“I like playing live the most out of the band and recording is still my least favourite thing to do – we didn’t know if we would put it out you know, and sometimes it’s about recording as an exercise and other times it becomes stressful – record label etc., stuff. We are all tight buddies and that’s probably the reason we stopped working together for a bit because always playing made us not spend time outside of the music.”
It seems the balance in the band’s music timeline also comes from living outside the music bubble, which sees Darcy more apt to attend a dinner party than shell out pockets of cash for an “experience”.
“It’s ridiculously expensive to go out so we tend to do more dinner parties, drink nice wines. Sometimes I’ll go to Biltmore (it’s close to where I live) or this nice Vegetarian restaurant The Acorn, which is open to 2am.”
Although he may not be as big into going to live shows (as of late), there are a couple of bands Darcy digs including HUM and Vancouver’s Weed. He also has quite an attachment to his bottle opener (which he stole from Amigos in 2005 and says “Picnic” on it), so don’t be like a girl back in the day who took it briefly – he won’t be impressed.
Ladyhawk begin their tour in Victoria, BC on October 16th with show stops in Saskatoon, Calgary and Toronto, wrapping up November 1st in Vancouver at The Biltmore with Shotgun Jimmie.