Where Spirits Play

From the opening grinding dirty guitar, this record had me hooked. The Ember Glows are from Montréal, so I have a shimmer of hope that they may tour Canada and play a gig in my hometown of Edmonton. Until then, I am enjoying listening to their new EP Where Spirits Play. I am listening as I write this blog, and I think it is appropriate that today is Sunday, and there may be Spirits Playing around me. They are playing through my speakers, and I enjoy what I hear.

Montréal has a special place in my musical memory banks. From November 1969 to August 1972, I flew through Montréal several times a year. If I had time to kill between flights, I would take a cab over to a mall that wasn’t all that far away, and there was a great little record store in the mall with a cool guy working there who played some excellent music and influenced my musical life.

I wish I could meet that gentleman and thank him for his contribution to the history of music in my life and the tendrils that stretched out to touch the lives of others. I was introduced to Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on the in-store record player. That album blew me away in 1970 and still gets frequent airplay by either my son or me. I also bought The Court of the Crimson King and the triple album of Woodstock in that store. I wonder if that store is still open.

Whoops, this was supposed to be a blog about the recording Where Spirits Play by The Ember Glows, who hails from Montréal. It wouldn’t surprise me if I were able to walk into that little record store and hear Where Spirits Play on their turntable. And I wouldn’t be surprised if I bought it right then and there. Where Spirits Play isn’t Déjà Vu. Yet. Give it some time, and we can get together and see if it stuck to us over the span of 50 or so years.

The Ember Glows came together as a band in early 2019 by the glowing embers of several Montreal-based indie artists. Room Control, REPO, Scene Noir and CitylakeThe Ember Glows get their buzz from Richard Bunze on guitar, Kevin Hills thumbing the bass at our ears, Martin Saint does double duty on both vocals and guitar, and last, but not least, they have Dan Stefik doing precision percussion.

Speaking to us regarding the single The Mirror, released as a single ahead of the EP, “This song is about how most nations carry skeletons in their closets – even the so-called peaceful ones. Sooner or later, we must face the weight of history and the past hits us hard collectively. We don’t shy away from difficult subjects, but neither do we wish to preach or claim to know better than anybody else. Such sensitive topics have to be handled with delicate taste and utmost respect,” says frontman Martin Saint.

“The lyrics are only a personal reflection that came about some two years ago after some of my work in association with APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network), but prior to the ghastly Canadian Residential School mass grave revelations. Musically, this kind of subject matter needed something driving, yet hypnotic enough, to really drive the point home. The song slowly builds up until we explode as a full band.”

There are only four tracks on this EP, but I put it on repeat and can not count how many times it has gone around that loop. It reminds me of cassettes. Just keep looping them until they are permanently etched into our memory banks. I can’t think of any bands That The Ember Glows sound like; they have multiple influences that tastefully get mixed in, but they have their groove going, and I can only say with certainty that they sound like The Ember Glows. I get the feeling that they would be an incredible live band. All of the songs on this EP run over four minutes and could easily jam into a gig that would bring the house down. The closer High Fever is one song that I could see them jamming on as a closer for their live show. 

The EP ‘Where Spirits Play‘ will arrive on September 23 and be available from all fine digital stores, including via Bandcamp, where it can already be pre-ordered. I wish shipping weren’t so damn expensive. I would be buying their physical music in a flash. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying their music. It sounds good digitally; I just like physical music. It probably has to do with buying records and cassettes since those heady days in Montréal. May you rock on and be happy listening to your format of choice.

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