In 2014, Matthew Angus and Jeffrey Lewis thought their band, the Fast Romantics, was finished.
As the only remaining members after after recording two albums and an EP, the pair set out to replenish their ranks in Toronto.
“Before we met everybody in the current lineup, we were kind of thinking maybe that was the end of the band,” singer Angus said.
“So it was basically a resurrection for us and I think everybody else was just energized because it was just like a new band and it basically was a new band.”
Angus and Lewis were successful in recruiting new band members and Angus said there was a lot of excitement and experimenting as the new lineup started writing material together for the first time. They called the new album American Love.
“We didn’t really feel like we needed to rush, which is a really nice feeling,” he said.
“In general, the making of the whole thing was this beautiful exploration of what we wanted to be as a band without too may outside pressures. We didn’t have a label at the time or anything so nobody was breathing down our necks.”
Armed with new tunes, including the hit single “Julia,” the Fast Romantics embarked on a North American tour. Angus said the atmosphere of the American election rubbed off on the band as they toured the United States and when they got home they spent nine months reworking the record into a more urgent call for love at a time when the world needs it.
“Initially it was just a collection of songs about love and relationships and the usual crap that bands write about,” Angus said.
“They’re still love songs, but they’re sort of in the context of what was going on at the time in the world.”
The revamped record was released in April and the singles have found their way into radio rotation. But Angus is taking the band’s successful newfound musical alchemy in stride.
“I think we always see ourselves as the underdogs in every situation, and any independent band probably should,” he said.
“We’re just pleased whenever people show up. We still don’t know if people are going to show up to our shows, so whenever we get to a show and it’s full of people we’re pretty stoked about that.”
The band is now back on the road to spread their American Love. They perform in Nanaimo at the Queen’s on Thursday, Nov. 9.
As part of their effort to encourage positivity, the group started a social media campaign named after their song “Get Loved.” They are encouraging fans to contact them with positive stories using the #GetLoved hashtag or at GetLoved.org. During their tour they’ll also be making videos with fans.
“We’re so focused sometimes on the badness of people and we have to remember there are good people out there and good things happen,” Angus said.
He said he hopes the experiment takes off on its own.
“In a dream world it would kind of be this nice, little, perpetual love machine.”
WHAT’S ON … Fast Romantics perform at the Queen’s on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 plus tax in advance, $15 plus tax at the door.