Matthew Angus [Vocals, guitar]
Kirty [Vocals, guitar, percussion]
Kevin Black [Guitar]
Jeffrey Lewis [Bass]
Lisa Lorenz [Keyboards]
Nick McKinlay [Drums]
In the two years following their 2017 LP American Love, Toronto-based Fast Romantics were living a double life. Travelling the continent as unrelenting road-warriors one month, and isolating themselves in their studio the next. The band had earned a loyal following after NPR declared their hit Julia “triumphant” in 2015, endearing fans to their unique brand of irresistible pop hooks and anthemic live shows.
But even as more songs arrived bearing those trademark euphoric highs, in came the inevitable lows. Singer-songwriter Matthew Angus’ emotive and personal approach to lyricism — often infused with the political and social chaos of the times — found the band breaking new musical ground and exploring more difficult themes.
As 2020 roared in — despite promises made to fans from the stage — there was still no finished record. Battling what he now recognizes as a long and personal depression, Angus had been leaving every song they started unfinished, in what he describes as “a paralyzing whirlwind of self-doubt.”
The six-piece took a retreat to California in an effort to find their footing. While there, news of a pandemic was already brewing, but when the trip had to be cut short due to rumours of border closures, it was on the tense flight back that Angus says he snapped out of his funk. “We had so many songs we were proud of. And we knew we had more than just one album. It was an embarrassment of riches. The world was telling us life was short. It was time to finish something.”
And so as the world hit the brakes, Fast Romantics put their foot on the gas. Quarantined away in their separate apartments, songs were divided into two distinct records over emails and video calls. The first record they would finish would be made of songs about that very moment. Songs about the fight against self-destructive demons. About the fear that we have little control in a world that seems designed to keep so many of us down. About finding the strength to break out of a depression under your own steam.
The record was finished remotely, with band members recording their remaining performances in their home studios and emailing them to Angus and his partner/bandmate Kirty, who live together next to the band’s recording studio. Within two high-octane weeks in late March, the group had completed recording. On a whim, they spent two weeks with Montreal’s Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, The National, Timber Timbre) via all-night video calls, who helped to finalize and mix the record. Angus describes that process as “the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had with somebody I’ve never hugged.”
By mid April, an album called Pick It Up was born. Kicked off by a title track that Angus had written in an attempt to ”pep talk” himself out of his own depression, Pick It Up is a collection of songs that as usual for Fast Romantics, reflects the time in which it was written. If Fast Romantics have their way, it is only the first of a series of albums set to be released across a very prolific period, despite a very unusual era on planet Earth.
Fast Romantics are Matthew Angus (Vocals, guitar), Kirty (Vocals, guitar, percussion), Kevin Black (Guitar), Jeffrey Lewis (Bass), Lisa Lorenz (Keyboards), and Nick McKinlay (Drums). Their single Julia was hailed by NPR as “triumphant” and CBC’s Q described their LP American Love as “a revelation of a record.” The band found top 20 commercial radio success in Canada with Why We Fight, and earned multiple #1 songs on CBC music’s national chart. Winners of SOCAN’s songwriting prize, “Best Pop Group” at the Sirius XM Indies, and short-listed for Reeperbahn Festival’s Anchor Award in Germany, as well as the Prism Prize in Canada. The six-piece are based in Toronto, Ontario and have toured nationally and internationally over a dozen times.