Like a freshly made cocktail, Two Hours Traffic has shaken things up a little.
The highly energetic P.E.I. pop group, fronted by Liam Corcoran, has tweaked its musical recipe.
“Our lineup is a bit different now that guitarist Alec O’Hanley is no longer is in the band. Andrew MacDonald, who played bass, is now playing lead guitar, and newcomer Nathan Gill is now the bass player. Derek Ellis remains on drums and percussion," says Corcoran, who is currently on tour with the band in Canada and the United States.
The change in personnel also slightly changed the flavours of this musical mix.
“During the lineup change, the three of us —Andrew, Derek and I did a good portion of the writing for our CD. We didn’t have anyone playing lead guitar at that time so, a lot of the songs focus on the rhythm because the bass and the drums were the focus.”
Another change came when Two Hours Traffic parted ways with musical mentor Joel Plaskett before heading into the recording studio.
“After using the same producer for three different albums, we decided that it was time to try something new. We certainly have nothing against Joel. We just felt it was time to change everything up,” Corcoran says.
So, they teamed up with Darryl Neudorf, known for his work in producing groups like Neko Case and the Sadies at his Operation Northwoods recording studio. During a two-week session in that rural Ontario setting, he captured the band’s “straight-out-of-the-garage energy with gorgeous sonic crispness,” says the band’s press release.
“Darryl has a talented technical side. He knows how to make guitars and drums sound really good. He also created a wonderful creative environment for us to work in. He was very good with all the different personalities and keeping the work going. There were very few roadblocks along the way. He only stepped in when he thought we were heading in the wrong direction,” says Corcoran.
Fans got the first taste of the band’s new recipe when it poured out its four-song EP, Siren Spell, in 2012. Last month, they got to sample the full meal deal when Bumstead released the full-length CD, Foolish Blood.
The album contains 11 tracks. The first single is the danceable Amour Than Amis.
“It’s the one that seems to attract people’s attention. It has an excellent drumbeat that Derek has come up with. There’s also a very intense, fast bass line, so it’s a very intricate song rhythmically. Lyrically, it’s very obvious what the song is about.
“It’s about wanting to be more than friends with someone but not being able to get there. It’s a good starting point (for us),” says Corcoran, of the band that celebrated its P.E.I. release at Hunter’s Ale House in Charlottetown earlier this month.
He’s happy with the new sound.
“We’re feeling good. With the lineup changes, it allows us to start fresh in a way. We’re all getting along and we sound good live, so we’re heading in the right direction,” says the music man, adding that besides performing in North America, the band has several international release dates lined up.
“Our last CD got released in Australia, but this time around it’s being released in Germany, the United States as well as Australia. As a result, we’re doing more international touring,” says Corcoran.
And when can P.E.I. fans expect to hear the band perform again?
“We’re pretty well gone until the end of May. So my guess would be June or July. But I don’t want to say for sure. Nothing is booked yet," he says.
AT A GLANCE
Up close and personal with Two Hours Traffic's Liam Corcoran
Favourite food: Chicken.
Favourite book: Angels by Denis Johnson
Favourite movie: Wanderlust
Five favourite things to take on tour: Books, DVDs, chocolate chip cookies, T-shirts and CDs
Sally Cole is a features writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 629-6000, ext. 6054.