We’ve all got phobias, but this is a new one: A fear of pop music. That’s not a clinical fear, of course, but it’s something Michael Dawson, organist and guitarist for Regina’s Library Voices, had to overcome.
“We had been terrified of the word pop for years,” he says. “It was a little too shunned upon for us to take it and run with it.”
But you can’t keep a good pop song down, and soon enough Dawson ditched playing in “noisy” bands and embraced his love of the Beach Boys and the Kinks and The New Pornographers.
Dawson, and his seven other bandmates, realized that bubbly pop wasn’t something to hide from when they did what every 20-something with a vinyl collection does — listen to old records.
“We heard these old tracks that we loved over the years and came to the conclusion that there’s so much more to these songs than guitar, bass and vocals. It’s so dense. Until we were into our 20s, we never stopped to consider a harmonica.”
It was then the band was born. Library Voices sounds a lot like The New Pornographers — multi-layered harmonies, rich, peppy instrumentation, chants, cheers and male, female vocals. It’s incredibly catchy and while the band still have some work to do before they write an album as brilliant as the Pornos’ Mass Romantic, their well-crafted power pop tunes should only get better with time.
Despite being relative newcomers on the Canadian music scene, they’re already garnering a ton of buzz. In 2008, spin.com listed them as a band to watch and they’ve shared stages with the likes of Stars and Plants & Animals. Now, with Denim on Denim, their first full length, out, they’re starting to see their audiences grow.
“Attendance is picking up,” says Dawson. “We’ve put in the work — over 100 shows last year — and people are starting to take notice.”
The more popular they get, though, the more demands will be placed on the Saskatchewan band. Dawson says they’re all in for the long haul and the ones that weren’t already left the group. “There were 10 of us,” he reveals. “But two parted ways. Everyone understands to put music first.”
Still, with eight people it’s not easy to coordinate schedules. On one seven-week tour, they had to find another drummer, and other obligations have kept band members away here and there.
“It’s something that has to be catered to each of us, especially when it’s costing money,” Dawson explains.
With some label interest — he won’t say from who — and more work on the horizon, it’s a good bet the entire Library Voices crew will stick around to see where the music will take them.
“Who knows what will happen,” he says. “Things started slowly this year, but they’re picking up like crazy.”