Papal Visit celebrate Golden Grove with first-ever live performance December 23 in Saint John.
The almighty Internet has blessed us with countless gifts. File sharing is just one of its many bounties. This convenience has spawned many a long-distance collaboration enabling musicians to write, record and perform on each other’s music without ever being in the same room together.
Papal Visit began as one such collaborative project spearheaded by musicians Pierre Cormier and Adam Mowery. After playing together in a few different projects over the years including Saint John’s seminal punk institution Wooden Wives (RIP), Mowery eventually moved to Halifax and Papal Visit became a way for he and Cormier to continue creating music.
“Papal Visit keeps it fresh for both of us and ensures that experimentalism is infused into the DNA of every song,” said Mowery in a January 2016 interview with Grid City Magazine.
Following the group’s Summer Single Series that resulted in four two-song digital singles over the summer of 2015, Papal Visit released their debut full-length, A Little Further Down The Flame. The album featured all the singles they put out that year plus a few new tracks. Not bad for a long distance recording project. They even managed to wrangle in a few friends to help round out the final mix.
But eventually the trail went cold. And it wasn’t until April of this year that Papal Visit began posting a new round of digital singles online leading up to the release of their second full-length album, Golden Grove.
“It’s our second record. We worked on it for a long time. Like a year and a half,” said Mowery. “It’s more collaborations between Pierre and I, but we’ve definitely stepped it up a notch or two this time in terms of songwriting and production. I wrote a couple of the tracks on my own to give it all a more cohesive feel overall, and we used a reel to reel tape machine on a few of the tracks which give the performances a warm lo-fi vibe.”
Golden Grove is packed full of catchy riffs that somehow manage to simultaneously channel the energy of 70’s garage rock, the danceability of 80’s pop, and the experimentation of the 90s with both Cormier and Mowery contributing vocals, bass, guitar, keys and percussion to the album’s 10 tracks.
“In the end, it’s a pasted together kinda record in the spirit of 90’s albums I grew up loving like Beck’s Mellow Gold, Guided By Voices’ Bee Thousand and Eric’s Trip’s Love Tara,” said Mowery. “I also created all the visual content this time out, trying to give all the singles and album artwork a similar flavour.”
The album also features contributions from a who’s who of Saint John music including fellow Wooden Wives members Jud Crandall and Alex Keleher as well as Chris Braydon (Reagan’s Rayguns/Jessica Rhaye), Jason Ogden (Penny Blacks) and Geoffrey Smith (Little You, Little Me).
While the project started off, and for the most part still remains primarily a long distance thing, Papal Visit will make its live debut on December 23 with a show at Saint John’s Pub Down Under with members of Penny Blacks, Little You, Little Me and others rounding out the group’s lineup.
Reagan’s Rayguns, David R Elliott and E.R. and the Other will join Papal Visit for this special hometown performance.
Golden Grove was released September 29, 2017.