After a three year break in recording The Waking Night return with Bad Anatomy.
It’s been three years since The Waking Night last released an album. Brass and Swagger came out in August 2013 and defined the group’s principal sonics as a strong combination of bluesy guitar leads over enormous rhythmic structures that walk a narrow path between art rock and old-school country with each song a compelling story all its own.
While it’s been a long time coming, Bad Anatomy finds the group back on track with what will no doubt be hailed as some of their strongest material to date.
“The last few things we recorded were very rushed so we decided to take our time with this recording project,” said guitarist Joel Dixon, adding that the band also spent a lot of time getting new bassist Ryan Cooper comfortable with the group’s existing material before attempting to write new stuff. “We jammed a lot and got Ryan up to speed on old tracks and during that time Matt [Legere] brought to the table some interesting riffs and lyrical ideas. From there we tossed together these six tracks that felt like they had a cohesive sound and decided to release them as an EP.”
“…we set our amps up on the deck, cranked them up and pointed them to the sea for this recording.”
Bad Anatomy is in many ways a departure from the group’s previous recordings, taking the band’s sound deep into darker territory. On this recording, the guitars are bigger, the vocals more haunting and the overall production a major step up from earlier releases.
“Dan Tweedie, our good friend, co-producer and engineer of the EP was up to the task of a passion project as he knew we wanted to take time with it and let it breath, listen back and add some layers as we went,” said Dixon. “Bad Anatomy took over a year to record, doing drums in Fredericton, and doing guitars and vocals in Bantry Bay near St. Andrews where we set our amps up on the deck, cranked them up and pointed them to the sea for this recording. We had help from Scott Mallory as well.”
The EP begins with Vena Cava, a dark, dirty and aggressive track with a gradual crescendo that slowly introduces the darker elements that come to define the recording’s overall esthetic with vocalist/guitarist Matt Legere giving one of his strongest vocal performances to date.
Blood Clot Pt1 &2, are the next pair of tracks and offer a bit of a call-and-answer approach to heartbreak and frustration, beginning at an emotional ‘rock bottom’ before finding optimism in reflection.
“It’s tough to really break down what the songs on Bad Anatomy are to me,” said Legere, who cements his place as a master storyteller throughout the EP’s six tracks. “At the time we were writing these songs I was in school and my program required me to learn the human anatomy rather extensively. I learned quickly that when you study that stuff it becomes difficult to not obsess over it. Not necessarily academically, but just in your day to day in general. You begin to connect the dots between how you treat yourself and how little things can have a huge effect on not only your physical health, but your mental state in general. And at the time, neither of those were tip-top for me.”
The EP continues with Third Digit, a track that features a great vocal arrangement with everyone lending their voice to magnify the song’s (and the story’s) peak. Its poppier feel offers a welcomed contrast to the surrounding tracks on either end and works as a perfect mid-point for the EP.
The title track is also possibly the group’s darkest track with the band challenging a heavy Bad Seeds feel and Legere adding to the storyline’s intoxicated feel by taking some major liberties in chorus phrasing and delivery.
I’ve got bad anatomy/I know it in my bones and I’m gonna croak/Doctors, they can’t stand the sight of me/It’s plain to see I’m so close to death don’t you know?
The EP concludes with Abductor, a track that offers a bit of resolve and perhaps a little optimism to the EP’s darker leanings.
Legere is a great storyteller and at times feels a bit more like a narrator than a singer – something that has always been a big part of the group’s character.
“I tend to write depending on my mood at just that time. It’s all moments for me. I’ll feel a certain way and then I’ll chase that feeling for a while and maybe a song will come out of it. Then I’ll become more and more removed from it as time goes on. And that’s ok. In a lot of ways the songs are very unsentimental that way. And the music too. I personally am drawn to songs that carry a continuous rhythm or groove or feeling throughout their entirety and then that’s it, you know?”
The ability to follow each song’s lyrical and narrative arc both rhythmically and dynamically, has always been a core strength of The Waking Night. And on Bad Anatomy, those skills shine stronger than ever.
Bad Anatomy will be released August 26 via Monopolized Records.
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