Thunder Bay's perennially cool ensemble, Pedestrian Lifestyle, has subsisted long enough to establish the lines between their post-rock character and their prevailing shape as all-knowing oracles over the dominions of ambient indie-rock sound— never wanding off the magnetic course of display on 'Gorblins.'
With the collaboration of Vision Of Doyle, and almost two decades after their debut in 2008, Pedestrian Lifestyle's latest studio album presents like a two-sided six-track record. But here, it's split down the middle, with each band devoted to one half. Featuring a concentrated potency produced from their combined creativity, and fulfilled with underlining inner-city garage-surf vibes attached.
"Sink And Spiral" is comprised mainly of magical snapshot accounts of the band's harmony coagulating into something more mesmeric and melancholic. Here, human emotions are manifest in a spacious mix that's sketched into reality amidst quintessential instrumentation, evoking sentiments that spread through system naturally—like our minds, united by a network of impulses and sparks to produce movement. Next, the haunting ballad-like, "Master Of Nothing," is composed of an underlying melancholy that Josh Talakoski effortlessly permeates in the opening lines. "I am nothing, just a waste of time," he's almost whispering, "so lay me down, in the fading light, I'm unfulfilled," striking with a fatal gloom. Here, in an unwinding orchestration of strings, the accompanying sonics could affix to any situational emotion: from wandering the street aimlessly without any direction to struggling with existential angst in the comfort of your blacked-out-room. And still, we evaporate into this evolving ballad-like-hymn that swells into its final emulsifying spectacles before melting into the next track.
"Suicide Pact"—the highlight on Pedestrian Lifestyle's half of the EP—is written by Vision Of Doyle while the lyrics were penned by Andrew Domenis. It's got a breakbeat character in the way the drum erupts onto the scene, opening the tune-up for the setting groove that reflects a garage-surf tone before it batters down on the one, leading into the chorus. With all its gritty weight and rawness supporting, the vocals present tastefully distorted and lo-fi—stretching and pulling from one sized room the next—evoking an immersive involvement into the industrious offerings Pedestrian Lifestyle has to deliver.
The number of diverse textures highlighted on this record reflects the more collaborative measures taken during the two band's writing process. With each quartet mirroring on similar tones and characters, different points of diversity are notably apparent, making the six-track EP feel bountiful in its creative juices. It's a premeditated risk that winds up working, feeling exciting, and presenting like a supergroup collaborative, colluding over the sonic discharges found in 'Gorblins.' When the soft-crushing composition "Place," gives way to the insouciant bounce of drummer, Aidan Domenis—from Visions Of Doyle—who injects the psychedelic-tinged guitars with an unwavering bending effect that sounds like they've been governed through an old tape machine. It has the character of a quiet evening at home that suddenly turns into a "turn the volume to 11" beach-trip-getaway—all while expediting their more compact-sounding Indie aesthetic.
One Vision Of Doyle concurrency often found in their dustier sounding music is their enamoring toplines, which always resolve into a feel-great-vibe for their choruses. On 'Gorblins,' it appears in the form of the light feathered three-minute highlighting song, "Scott": a song dedicated to simultaneously making thrifty sounding guitars pop as they blend in with the rhythm section on the hook. On this track, it quietly devastates with a reoccurring motif: "I don't want to be your baby, I just want to be your friend," Andrew Domenis resolves in the addictive melody, demonstrating a crystalline example of the charming weight behind their songwriting.
As we come closer to the final cycles of 'Gorblins,' much to our surprise, Visions of Doyle's next song, "Zoology." This song is a cover song of three Pedestrian Lifestyle songs, created into one unique medley. Here, we experience a trippy rhythmic clamor over the rims of a drumkit. The wurling of keys subtly color in the spaces between the supported chugs of a saturated electric guitar and Andrew Domenis' nonchalantly sailing vocals. It all asks the ultimate question: "What are these two bands NOT capable of?"
It's not too crazy to think that 'Gorblins' could stand as a banner for the prefabricated genres stretching between "Garage Surf," and "Indie Alternative Rock." But still, its parquetry of woozy ambiance and woolly insulating groove incorporates a version of Canadian vibe that subsists with pioneering textures, found throughout their combined catalogs. Pedestrian Lifestyle and Visions Of Doyle have always followed their creative intuitions. With the help of friendship, their combined 'Gorblins' stretches out—encompassing us with all the musical brilliance that it exudes.
What were your headspaces like going into this record, and the upcoming months prior to its release?
I think we were all in a pretty positive headspace when we did these songs. That being said it was kind of a whirlwind of an experience. We recorded our half of the split while we were on tour. We had a free day in Toronto so we had booked some studio time and partway through the session our van had got broken into which was a huge bummer but we tried to stay positive and truck on through it. The months coming up to the release there was a bit of anxiety and stress to make sure we were all happy with everything but it was definitely worth it in the end.
You're often described as a band who blends melody and emotion together, but what imparting emotions did this experience blend into your own lives individually or as a band?
I think the take away for all of us from this experience is sometimes shit happens and you just have to roll with it. You just have to take things as they are. Things get better and the stuff that is out of your control you just have to brush off.
Is this format of splitting down records, one group a side, something you're planning on considering again in the future?
For sure. We had a super fun time doing this project so we are already considering doing it again. Covering each other's songs and throwing a couple of original ones in there was an interesting way of doing things. It allowed us to experiment and try out different things.
Could you impart some words of wisdom that would enhance your audiences' experience of listening to 'Gorblins' for the first time?
Gorblins is essentially a celebration of friendship and being on tour with a bunch of people we would consider to be brothers. It was the first tour for Visions of Doyle so having that experience with them will be a memory we never forget. Friendship is key to being in a band. This split will allow listeners to get a taste of both bands but all in all they will hear a bunch of friends making music they are proud of.
What has been keeping all of you inspired this year? What can we expect to see next from you?
Well, this year has been pretty crazy, to say the least with everything that has been going on in the world but seeing bands still continue to put out records and new music has been inspiring for sure. Seeing that definitely gives one the confidence to keep at it. We are currently in the midst of trying to get back on track with finishing writing our new album and hopefully we can get out more music later on in the year.