Long Distance Runners – Tracks
For the past two years, The Long Distance Runners has built a reputation as one of Newfoundland’s hardest working and dynamic up-and-coming bands. Their debut self-titled EP (2010) solidified their place in the east coast music scene with a recent handful of ECMA (East Coast Music Association) and MusicNL (Music Newfoundland and Labrador) award nominations. Now, the St. John’s based four-piece are getting ready to enter the next chapter of their career as they prepare to release their first full length album Tracks this April which will be available on CD, vinyl and iTunes.
Recorded at Kilbride’s Lab Of Chaos with Krisjan Leslie over the winter of 2011, Tracks marks a significant shift for the band as they head into new territory in their songwriting and growth as musicians. Soaring three-part harmonies, swirling organs and jangly guitars set against singer Chris Picco’s humourously dark lyrics invoke late-60’s era Beatles, Kinks and Velvet Underground. As with their debut album, the band played most instruments themselves even in situations where experience was nil. “We’d borrow a banjo or lap-steel or mandolin and took on the challenge to learn the parts as quickly as possible,” recalls guitarist Dicky Strickland. “If the part fit, we kept it.” Another key ingredient was the spontaneous approach in which many of the songs came to be, like the opener, “Election Day” that hadn’t been heard by the other members until the day Picco brought it into the studio. ““The Island,” “Credits Roll,” “You Don’t Answer Anymore,” and “Treading Water” were all new songs that Chris brought in last minute,” drummer Adam Cardwell explains. “We arranged and rehearsed them at the start of the session, and had them basically done by the end of the day.” Bassist Matt Hender agrees, “A complicated song like “The Island” with its changing time signatures and multi-layered bridge was a real thrill to watch come together in the studio. It’s now become everyone’s favorite cut on the record.”
The songs themselves range from the defiant pronouncements of “Knuckles” and un-apologetic finger-pointing of “Credits Roll” – the latter showcased in a recent episode of CBC’s Republic of Doyle – to desperate pleas for relief such as “The Island” and “If I Forget to Say I Love You.” The album is rife with characters that appear and reappear. In the comic jazz number “Treading Water,” we find our narrator struggling to keep his head above the water and later in “He Doesn’t Stare Into The Sun No More” getting sucked down in the undertow. “I guess it’s fair to say that all of the characters are related in some way,” explains Picco. “It really wasn’t until the end of recording that I realized we had a common theme running through. I think it makes for an interesting experience for listeners who like piecing puzzles together.”
A band admired by their peers and fans for their high energy live shows, The Long Distance Runners will be taking their first full length Tracks on the road this April, hitting venues from Nova Scotia to Ontario and continuing their rise as one of Atlantic Canada’s premiere up- and-coming new bands. Look for them in 2012.