Canada's Alexisonfire maturing, whether their fans like it or not

You don't need to look too deeply into Alexisonfire's new record, "Old Crows/Young Cardinals," to see signs of maturity.

TORONTO - You don't need to look too deeply into Alexisonfire's new record, "Old Crows/Young Cardinals," to see signs of maturity.

Four albums and eight years into their career, George Pettit's trademark screaming has been toned down to more of a guttural howl, while opening track "Old Crows" features the chorus/mission statement: "We are not the kids we used to be, stop wishing for yesterday."

So yes, the St. Catharines, Ont., hardcore rockers are evolving - whether their fans are ready for it or not.

"We're grown up," said singer Dallas Green in an interview at a Toronto bar. "We made the first record, and three of the guys were in their teenage years."

"I bought a lawnmower last week," Pettit interjected helpfully.

"I'm almost 30," Green added. "I started the band, I was 21 years old, I was fresh out of high school. I thought: 'Oh this is great, I'm in a rock band.'

"When we made that first record, we were bratty little kids coming out of high school playing this weird type of music, with this guy singing and this guy screaming, we're still doing it but..."

Things have changed. "Old Crows/Young Cardinals" doesn't exactly sound subdued, but it's the most melodic set the band has ever produced, with vocal contributions from three of the group's five members.

Though he makes no apologies for the band's progression, Pettit acknowledges that it might make some fans uncomfortable.

"I think there was already kind of a bit of a backlash, there are kids who kind of wanna see us put out the same record over and over again," he said. "(They) want to see us making 'Watch Out! 2,' and that's asking way too much from us.

"Asking us not to change is just too much."

Yet the group did seem to suffer through their share of growing pains in putting the album together.

In a February blog posting credited to Green, he celebrated that the band had finally "clicked" while making reference to recent struggles.

"There were some pretty dark moments and at times it seemed as if we were all working against each other," he wrote.

But Green says now that putting the record together was no more difficult than usual.

"There just were some hiccups here and there, but I think that's the way every good record is made," he said. "We got through it. I think we maybe thought we had more time than we actually did, so there were a couple little deadline scares.

"But other than that it was pretty smooth process."

While "Old Crows/Young Cardinals" is the band's first record since 2006's platinum-selling "Crisis," the members of the group have kept busy.

Green won a Juno this year for his solo project, City and Colour, while guitarist Wade MacNeil fronts Black Lungs. Pettit, meanwhile, hosts "Strange Notes," an interview program airing on BiteTV and online at aux.tv.

But Pettit says he isn't concerned that the band's other endeavours might overwhelm their main gig. Alexisonfire, he says, will continue moving forward.

"I think Alexisonfire, as long as we feel it's relevant, will continue making records," he said. "You know, the side projects are there and they're there to get all the stuff out of our head that's not necessarily Alexisonfire. "We'll make another record when we feel we need to make one. Maybe that means we're gonna be old men playing in Alexisonfire, or maybe it'll last two more years, then we burn out. Who knows?"

 
 
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