When it comes to change, Toronto group The Key Frames are not afraid to take chances.
After having released two moderately successful releases while flying a musical banner that encompassed roots, folk and bluegrass among others, the group has unveiled a revamped sound with their newest release, Monophone Heart, which lies closer to a rock and roll sound than anything else.
Fans of the band need not worry that they have gone all AC/DC on us. Their EP definitively moves the band forward while nodding to their past.
Performing at Moncton’s Plan b Lounge tonight, Key Frames member Rob Webster says the decision to push forward with a revamped sound was only decided following a consensus amongst band members.
“Like virtually any group of five guys, musicians or otherwise, you are always going to have some liberal voices among the band while others tend to be more conservative. Contemplating a change in our sound was a serious undertaking, one that we had to make sure that everyone in the band was on board with. We’ve been together long enough and care about one another enough that making decisions democratically is the way to go,” he says.
He acknowledges that The Key Frames change in sound isn’t anywhere near as radical as it could have been.
“I think there was always an unhinged element to the music we made in the past, it just happened to come through in a bluegrass and folk kind of way. All we’ve done is paired that same chaotic vibe with rock and roll. The spirit of the band is very much the same.”
Having formed in 2007, Webster is well aware that changes such as what The Key Frames have pursued are not always well received by the general public, who will sometimes abandon or openly criticize a group for not having stayed the course.
He credits The Key Frames’ audience for being smart enough to realize that at the band’s core is the same group of five guys that delivered previous releases Out On The Point (2011) and 2012’s Low Light High Light.
“We are fortunate that our audience tends to be an intelligent, music-liking bunch of people that is smart enough to know that we aren’t looking for the fast-track to success or that we aren’t looking to have the next big viral video. People want substance in their music, and, as a band, we want to give people something meaningful to listen to,” Webster says.
Despite Webster’s assertion that the five-song Monophone Heart EP could have just as easily been a 12-song full-length release, the group wanted to make the listening experience as user-friendly as possible.
“We have three writers and four singers within our ranks, so deciding to release an EP this time around wasn’t for a lack of material. Going with a release of five songs allowed us to dedicate much more time and attention to each track than if we had gone with a dozen songs. Plus, everyone seems so pressed for time these days, a five-song release that comes in around the 20-minute mark is a little more realistic and digestible. It can sometimes feel like an achievement to get people to listen to one song from start to finish, let alone five of them,” he says.
“That being said, we remain firm believers in the album as a format. There is something about the rhythm and the rise and fall of the dynamics of the album that will always resonate with us.”
What: The Key Frames
When: Saturday July 18, 9 p.m.
Where: Plan b Lounge, 212 St. George St., Moncton