Upcoming Shows

Sunday, November 10 - Handlebar

Dissenter. Dissident. A radical without conscience. Such is the common perception of a revisionist: one who chaotically alters with self-serving interests.

Such isn't always the case. Though cutting with the chisel and beating by the hammer, many aim to improve upon past achievements, creating infinitely more sublime, appealing and enduring works.

Toronto-based post-punk indie trio The Black Fever is one of those outfits.

Spawned in 2009 after previously notable acts The Daybreak and Fire Hydrant came to an end, the past three years have seen The Black Fever escalate from veritable solo project to commanding power trio. Cutting their indie teeth with 2010 debut Romanticism, The Black Fever quickly fell into adoration with audiophiles across the commonwealth, resulting in national radio play and rave reviews in many of Canada's musical bibles.

Looking to surpass those lofty accomplishments however, The Black Fever is set to release their independent sophomore opus, the aptly-titled Revisionist. Striving to create an effort forged on unity, this 10 track affair finds The Black Fever expanding beyond the singular inspiration of their inaugural work. Where Romanticism was primarily written by Shoe and saw him bringing former bandmate Bramm and acquaintance Purpura into the fold, Revisionist boasts a triumvirate coming together in equal parts.

“I suppose I worked backwards,” Shoe confesses. “Our first release was essentially a solo album. I wanted to see what I could do on my own; if I had the ability to write entire album, see it through to completion and construct a band afterwards instead of the conventional process: build a band, write songs and record. I knew I could bring in Pat because we share musical tastes. Having performed with Dan in the past, I knew he was perfect for what I wanted to accomplish.”

With a goal of revisiting Romanticism from a detached perspective, Shoe notes that Revisionist is a massive step forward musically and lyrically for The Black Fever; showcases a more cohesive sound and direction than its predecessor.

Far from lacking though, Romanticism revelled in overt British inspiration, anthemic tunes and a thinly-veiled post-breakup theme. Still, Revisionist hones those influences into a more subdued, propulsive and intricate direction best defined as post-punk colliding with indie and Brit rock. From flashes of Interpol and early Cure through Joy Division and Gang Of Four, Revisionist is a concise and clear yet driven and captivating experience.

“Working with a unit has helped in terms of building what we're looking for,” Shoe continues. “We were all feeding into the process, arranging and so forth. We wanted to rewrite Romanticism but in a more disengaged way. There are more intricate drum arrangements and the bass took a more prominent, almost lead role. The guitars are less commanding too, making for more interplay and weaving of instrumentation. This album is about the giving and taking of sound.”

To that extent, Shoe reveals that this alliance of ideals infiltrates into Revisionist's lyrics as well. Aided by the power of experience, growth and diversity, the album is brimming with the keen eye of wisdom commingling with a softer instrumental touch.

“These lyrics are definitely more mature,” Shoe beams. “There are some emotional songs but in a more observational as opposed to experiential setting. There's a lot less introspection; more detachment as if we're cataloguing something going on. The song may have been written thinking 'I' but we're not always referring to the self.”

Produced by Jon Hawkes (Les Gars, The Outfit) and mastered by Noah Mintz (Lacquer Channel Mastering), from the likes of tongue-in-cheek track “Girls...Just Wanna Have Funds” and its mocking of materialistic pursuits through to mid-tempo, groove-oriented “Alchemist” and its host of metaphors for struggling to change that which we can't or “Slipping Away” featuring an upbeat, danceable interplay of instruments, Revisionist clearly parades a fresh, subtle and pointed trio.

“Oasis, The Beatles, The Sex Pistols...many bands can be reduced to formulas,” Shoe asserts. “That's not a bad thing but we bring our own mix of influences. You could probably pick them out but we strive for an interesting mix with tones and arrangements. There's a fine line between creating songs that are interesting but not esoteric and catchy while staying away from being bland.”

Diverse, fervent, peerless and crafty, if Revisionist is an amendment to The Black Fever's inimitable musical idiom, it only asserts the threesome's incredible prowess and impending post-punk dominance.

“We're making guitar-based music that takes the less commercial aspect and makes it more powerful. There's an edginess mixed with strong songwriting and hooks that aren't cliched because it features danceable songs, not danceable songs, happy songs and not happy songs. It captures different moods; taps into many aspects and can be background music that fuels the atmosphere. Moreover, if you were to sit in a dark room scrutinizing it with headphones, you'd always find something you hadn't heard before,” he concludes. “We've created the kind of album that works on multiple levels.”


Shoe /// Vocals & Guitar
Pat Bramm /// Bass
Dan Purpura /// Drums
All photos by Liz Beddall      Download hi-res versions