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Ride the Swell

Current Swell will play Whistler Olympic Plaza for Crankworx on Saturday

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Scott Stanton wants to know where this "new roots" movement came from.  A group of musical acts from Victoria, including Current Swell, Jon and Roy and Vince Vaccaro, have been lumped together due to an affinity for acoustic guitars and a close geographic proximity.

But Stanton, guitarist and vocalist for Current Swell says the label is just a name. His band is far more difficult to pigeonhole.

"I've always found it difficult to pinpoint our band. I don't like to say surf rock because I don't necessarily like using surf to sell things, it's kind of frowned upon in surf culture," he says.

"We're not a blues band, we're not a reggae band and we're not a folk band. If anything we're just a rock band and some people call it the new roots rock band."

Whatever they are, the Victoria band - which also includes vocalist/guitarist Dave Lang, Chris Petersen on drums and "Ghosty" on bass - is distinctly a West Coast band, and fuses the heady folk-metal of Led Zeppelin III with Sublime's most obscure cuts. Their first album So I Say is a slice of immaturity written when the band members were barely out of high school. It earned them an international audience and a lifestyle defined by frequent travel, but Stanton admits they were still quite naïve about the industry.

"I find that every album we've made we were like, 'Wow! This is going to be the best album ever!' And then you realize that there's so much music out there and this album is actually not that great," he laughs.

Music writers and promoters lumped them in with Jack Johnson and Xavier Rudd as a surf band, but Stanton says that surfing is a very small part of what influences their music. The only real connection is the ethic in which they approach both pursuits - they'll ride a groove like a wave until it tapers off and then find the next one.

Despite being known as a "summertime band," he says that the band rarely writes in the sunnier months.

"Right when the fall hits and I get inside and get cozy and start drinking red wine a little bit more instead of beer, that's when the music kind of pours out of me in the writing department."

Current Swell is set to release its as-yet-untitled fourth album this fall. Stanton says it's their darkest, most cohesive album yet; broadening their instrumental palette with banjo, slide guitar and synthesizers.

"Our last record jumped all over the place so this time we said, 'Let's make a cohesive record, one that has a nice flow,'" he says.

They whittled 30 songs down to 10, nixing some of their best songs and cutting out the reggae influence for the indie-folk and rock the band touched on with Protect Your Own.

Stanton says the shift in tone was not intentional but came naturally as the band members have grown up and have come to deeper understandings about their surroundings.

While previous albums have been influenced by travel and places, the new album is more personal, focusing on relationships with friends and the people they have met. One song is about the death of a close friend.

It also has some of their heaviest songs to date, a new direction for the band that could win them some new fans who weren't paying attention before.

"I was listening to the final masters today thinking, 'Oh, this could be pretty good,'" Stanton says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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