Moist and uneasy

Pressure of following hit debut inspires band on new album


Ottawa Sun

The last time Moist guitarist Mark Makowy released a new album, his band was unsigned and unknown, and there were no expectations hanging over the quintet.

That debut album, Silver, went on to become a watershed in Canadian independent music. Powered by eye-catching videos, relentless touring and some fine songs, Moist signed with EMI, re-issued the album, went triple platinum and toured relentlessly around the world. Now comes the tricky part -- following up that success.

"The toughest thing was getting into the right head space to move forward with the writing. When we came off the road, we had been playing the songs off Silver so long, they were fairly stamped into our brains," Makowy says of making their follow-up LP, Creature.

"It took us a while to figure out what the voice of this record was going to be. We really got into the meat of the record after three or four months."

Moist will be in Ottawa tomorrow for a listening party at Barrymore's -- giving fans a sneak preview of the record, which isn't due in stores until next month.

The tension surrounding the making of Creature actually fueled their creative fires, he says. "The production (of Silver) was nowhere near the scope of this one, and the expectations were nowhere near this one. This time, people are definitely expecting something great from Moist, second time out. "We felt that. But it was part of the process of writing this record, getting past that, putting that out of our minds, making the record we wanted to make."

The fruit of their labor will reward fans who loved Silver, but is also bound to foil some expectations

While Leave It Alone (the first video) is a classic Moist slow-burner, other tracks display a relatively daring use of different instrumentation and spare arrangements. The standout title cut features trumpet, while Tangerine adds cello to their musical arsenal. Gasoline and Disco Days strip away the layers of noise and let the songs stand up with minimal instrumental support.

"It is fun to be able to step out. Because we had more time to record this record, we had more time to experiment. Things we didn't have the time to do on the first one. We tried a little bit of drum looping. It's fun to move away from what you ordinarily do." "The record is very much a reflection of a lot of the experiences we've had while we've been travelling ... feelings you get when you go to different places and the cultures you are confronted with."

And what about the album title?

"As human beings, we're creatures. Our culture is a creature. Everything we have going on is a creature. It is quite a poignant term, in a way."

"As human beings, we're creatures. Our culture is a creature. Everything we have going on is a creature. It is quite a poignant term, in a way."

After a series of listening parties across Canada, Moist is pondering a series of small club shows, before a full-scale cross-Canada tour early in the new year. Creature will once again get an international release, which means another massive round of touring.

"Creature might turn a few heads," Makowy concedes.

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