When young indie crew Inlet Sound ventured to record in the cabins and churches of the Canadian Shield last spring, their escapist recording experience mimicked those of many veteran rockers before them who stole away from the pop of camera bulbs and city noise to achieve musical serenity. Only, Inlet Sound is technically just a few years into its musical infancy.
But, listening to The Romantics – their appropriately-named mature debut and result of said deep North recording – it becomes clear that the young power-folk troupe have more perspective than their ages might suggest. Whoever has survived life in the big city – especially in their tumultuous twenties – knows that the experience can easily lend itself to reflective songwriting and the need for retreat.
“You know, at this age your ideals really are challenged, and you realize pretty quickly that life is an adaptive process,” says Inlet Sound’s co-founder Sean Hardy. “We sort of hashed out an arc – track by track you’ll hear everything from excitement to shreds of doubt.”
While lead singer Michael Wexler’s Decemberists-reminiscent vocals remain a triumphant, harmonic thread throughout the instrument-layered folk-pop album – the storyline is every bit as winding as Hardy suggests. While opening jubilantly by the way of Romantics I and Magnetic North – the melodic first single and golden moment – mid-album quickly swoops into chillier key-driven numbers featuring solemn strings and expressive prose. By the time Young Hearts closes out the album, Wexler and a bevy of upbeat sounds have rounded back full circle – preaching to his generation to “reach for the sun again.”
Beginning in Toronto in 2009, Wexler and Hardy’s two-piece folk duo shortly thereafter morphed into its current five-piece front – one that was put to the test on their first tour, which included stops out east – where they were greeted with warm Maritimer reception (not surprising, based on the coastal inclination to bubbly string-driven live acts). Most importantly, weeks on the road spent “steeped in each other’s emotions” actually solidified their musical capabilities as a unit.
“We have other things going on in our lives – school, work, etc. – but it would be nice to focus on this together right now,” Hardy says of the October 16th album release. “Being in the band has become such an integral part of who we are right now.”
Somewhere in between conversations about goals, the album title and his generation at large – Hardy reiterates what his disposition and stories within the first full-length shot already demonstrated.
“We are very, very hopeful,” he says.