Published Aug 05, 2020Fast Romantics are based in Toronto, but two members — Matthew Angus and Jeffrey Lewis — hail from Calgary, and other members have rural upbringings. Their latest album, Pick It Up, has a salt-of-the-earth quality about it. This is music for mountains, farms and prairies. Angus, the lead singer, has a voice reminiscent of Darius Rucker, Steve Harwell of Smash Mouth, or George Ezra. The folk-country, '90s grunge and indie elements are all apparent.
Angus and bandmate/partner Kirty – a prolific, Orilia, ON-raised, Humber-schooled multi-instrumentalist – share an apartment next to their studio. He refers to the other members of the band – Lewis as well as Kevin Black, Nick McKinlay and Lisa Lorenz – as his best friends. Title track "Pick it Up" is both the story of battling through crippling depression and also an ode to social isolation as the video includes footage he took traveling around Toronto filming all of the members from a distance. There is a real warmth projected through the album.
"Pick It Up" has a fascinating, trippy intro, which is very different from the rest of the song, but is coordinated seamlessly so as not to be jarring. "ISO Radio" is a 42-second track that plays with static and distortion. "Made for You" is a sweet love song with a simple melody but also uses electronic sounds. "Hallelujah, What's It to Ya?" is an homage to Angus's religious upbringing (one he does not follow as an adult), which gets to the essence of religion by celebrating life.
On Pick It Up, the down-to-earth dances with the experimental. Fast Romantics are a band that convey a real comfort zone but also are not afraid to step out of it. (Postwar Records)