Canadian lads on continental jaunt

Clark Hall Pub was the latest stop for Bend Sinister, who recently hit major American music spots

Joseph Blood feels that Canada is well-represented in America and abroad.
Joseph Blood feels that Canada is well-represented in America and abroad.

On their new record, Vancouver-based group Bend Sinister are trading in their sound.

Having just played famed music festival SXSW in Austin, Texas, the group is moving onto other American hotspots, like New York City, Detroit and Chicago, to play their fourth full-length studio album Animals, released this month.

Guitarist Joseph Blood described the band’s sound as “goofy over-the-top flamboyant rock and roll.” The new album, which Blood said is different from any of their previous efforts, trades in the sleek, Queen-like vocal harmonizing and elaborate arrangements of earlier songs like “Time Breaks Down” for the looser prog-rock rave-up of Animals' lead single “Teacher”.

“For this record we decided to leave Vancouver so we [recorded] it in San Diego,” Blood said. “We just wanted to get out of our comfort zone.” The entire recording process lasted only 11 days.

That may seem quick, but Blood says the incredibly fast-paced work ethic was due to the fact that the band members are so familiar with one another.

“It was really fast paced, compared to previous records we’ve done where it was a more drawn out process,” he said.

The group consists of four members: singer and keyboard player Dan Moxon, drummer Jason Dana, guitar player Joseph Blood, and bassist Matt Rhode, who have been playing together for six years.

“I think because now the band’s been the same four guys for so long that we’re all really familiar with each other and we’ve got a sort of nice work ethic,” Blood said.

He said the inspiration for the latest record came from a mosaic of arists, like Dr. Dog, Philadelphia, Thin Lizzie, Savages and Kendrick Lamar. Despite the variety, Blood said the band is largely drawn to “seventies sounds”.

“The name Animals came up out of the animalistic nature of people and how at the end of the day we’re all just these kind of gross beings running around and destroying the earth,” Blood said.

Like many Canadian bands, Bend Sinister is familiar with the Kingston music scene. They have performed here a few times, both at the Mansion and Clark Hall Pub, which Blood said the band really enjoyed.

“The place was really full and everyone had a really good time and it’s nice to play for a college crowd,” he said.

Having just performed at SXSW, Bend Sinister is no stranger to the American music scene. Blood said he believes that Canadian musical acts are well-represented in the competitive North American music industry.

“There’s lots of great talent in Canada and lots of people are able to get their music out there in the competitive North American climate,” he said. “I definitely think people all over the world know that Canada’s got a wealth of great music.” Following their stateside shows, the group will be back in the province for the summer.

“We’ll be back in Ontario at some point playing a couple of festivals,” Blood said. “Hopefully we’ll put out another music video or two in the next couple of months.”

Bend Sinister played Clark Hall Pub March 21.

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