Short of Able proves that winning takes time

These days, a lot of importance is put on “the instant.” For inst…example, Twitter gives you instant access to Charlie Sheen. Facebook gives you up-to-date status updates from that kid you went to junior high school with…Even though you didn’t really like him and haven’t talked to him in about ten years. And of course, you’ve also got the instant music celebrities – and all that really takes is singing a song about the order the days of the week come in.

It’s getting rather rare to see musicians take their time, but that’s exactly what the gang from Short of Able have done. Their new album, Far Away and Out of Sight, was written and recorded over a ten month period. Coincidentally, it has ten songs. Just by using basic math, it is evident this LP wasn’t done in a hurry; the band was taking their time to do things right, and to learn.

Short of Able

One of the chief lessons the band took from recording was the benefit of doing it themselves. Three of the songs, “Home,” “Time Before,” and “Come on Up” were produced in a professional studio, but they found it a race against time to finish the songs instead of letting things come together organically. As they moved toward new material to fill out the album’s other seven spots, Short of Able worked in their friend Terry Bradstock’s studio for two of them, and lead guitarist Devin Phillips’ studio for the final five.  Phillips relates that they walked into recording with “loose ideas of what we wanted. However during our time in the studio we really gutted the songs and built them back up from scratch.”

This meant they had the songs they wanted when they finished. The main difference, Phillips explains, between the professional studio and doing things independently was with the latter, they could take the time to “be creative instead of looking at the clock every take.” The band clearly found this essential, as when asked how important the DIY ethic was to Far Away and Out of Sight, Phillips replied by saying,

“DIY recording is something that probably led to us releasing our album. If we didn’t take the chance, Short of Able would not have a debut LP. Every song we record from now on will be done on our own or in an environment where we have no time constraint.”

Not rushing through the recording process at the speed of Will Smith’s daughter had other positive results as well. Namely, it allowed the band to find a sound of their own. With each band member rooted in a different style, this was no easy task. Phillips draws off hard, melodic guitar riffs. Singer and guitarist Justin Wisser balances that with an acoustic folk approach. The bass player, Narish Maharaj, leans towards funk and blues, while Colin Ouellette rounds the group out by drumming with the mighty power of grunge behind him. This diverse melange of styles comes packed with the potential danger of not being able to mesh, but that wasn’t the case at all. Eventually. As Phillips weighs in on the subject,

“Finding our sounds was quite tough, we went a long time struggling to find what we wanted. I honestly believe the recording process brought us face to face with our songs and showed us dynamics to a song we have never heard before. In most cases it was good, but on a few songs that were our favorite, they havent been touched since then.”

The songs that remained have good rhythm, are catchy, melodic, and still somehow manage to rock at the same time. People have called Short of Able a meeting between Sam Roberts, Coldplay and Oasis, but there’s also a bit of the prairies in them too – the second track, “Home” brings back warm memories of the Watchmen. And by combining this musical style with feelings of nostalgia on the song “Sunshine,” the listener is left yearning for the long summer days of childhood. They also delve into musical territory mostly left alone in the mainstream these days. This is apparent in the first single off the album, “Some Said,” which leans quite heavily on the harmonica, and contains not even a speck of auto-tuned vocals.

Fresh off a sold out album release show for Far Away and Out of Sight at the Haven Social Club, Short of Able is gearing up to play shows outside the vibrant Edmonton music scene. Look for them all over Western Canada, and perhaps as far away as Toronto this summer.

Luckily, however, you can still see them around town. They are going to be at the Edmonton Beerfest this weekend – they’ll be performing there on Saturday 30 April at 6:00PM. And on the 24th of May, they’ll be playing at the greatest pub in the world, The Black Dog Freehouse on Whyte Avenue.

So break yourself away from the all the emphasis on “the instant” – forget about Charlie Sheen, forget that kid from Junior high you don’t actually know, forget why Friday is just so darn great, and check out Short of Able.

Here’s how:

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One Comment on “Short of Able proves that winning takes time”

  1. William Gilgan Says:


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