Shares new single/video, “Wild Goldfish”
Announces album: Further Up Island – May 28, 2021
via Telephone Explosion Records
Canadian artist, André Ethier is sharing his new single, “Wild Goldfish”, alongside with which he is announcing his new album Further Up Island – out May 28, 2021, via Telephone Explosion Records –which marks the final segment in a trilogy of solo records that began with 2017’s Under Grape Leaves and 2019’s Croak In The Weeds. This first single arrives with a fantastic visual accompaniment created by Eva Michon that finds Ethier as an RPG character playing out an existential and times banal, lonely and melancholy life looking for wild goldfish on Further Up Island.
If this is your first introduction to André Ethier prepare to be dazzled. This sweeping melody flutters across the growing soundscape created from the get-go of this release, carefully layering these experimental elements against this mix of intricate notes and unpredictable cadence. The vocal harmonies add their own vibe into the creation, it’s a very powerful instrumentation yet adds this distinct calming tone to its overall projection. This composition will hook you, pulling you into the centre of this piece and keep you captivated.
While not narratively linked in the traditional sense, these three records document the musician’s ongoing collaboration with producer Sandro Perri. Like Robert Altman’s run of brilliant films with Shelley Duvall in the 1970s, the duo have developed a singular creative kinship over the course of three LPs. Since his days as the frontman of the Deadly Snakes, Ethier has cultivated an entirely different artistic practice as an acclaimed contemporary painter. At the same time, he has quietly slipped out a spellbinding body of work as a solo musician, with this album trifecta showcasing his skills as one of Canada’s most vastly underrated songwriters and storytellers. Ethier’s songs are casually played but carefully orchestrated, allowing each element to appear in sharp focus.
“These albums are a series using the same palette,” explains Ethier, whose softly coloured paintings also grace the covers of the trilogy. “The tools Sandro and I used on all three of them are similar so that the songs can almost be interchangeable. It’s a way of giving time to a creative relationship so it can blossom, like developing a shorthand with a co-worker. Nurturing that process allows it to grow.” When describing the hazy concepts behind his albums, Ethier proposes a natural trajectory: “In the first, you establish the tools and build yourself a room, in the sequel you live in the room and imagine what’s outside, finally in the third… you escape?” He imagines the singer of these songs as a movie character drifting through non-chronological vignettes. Though he is flawed and his narration is unreliable, we follow this anonymous hero’s journey to a destination filled with unknown promises.
The themes at stake here underpin the concept behind this first single, “Wild Goldfish”, and the accompanying video. We learn of our narrator searching for wild goldfish on a fictional island, however, it becomes apparent that these goldfish in fact do not exist. “I think this character is looking for impossible things,” explains Ethier. “I don’t think there are any wild goldfish, that’s silly. And I don’t think there is a utopian feminist commune in northern BC, and even if there was, I don’t think they would have any use for this guy. Anyhoo, he represents a certain delusional attitude that is in no way malicious but is maybe sweetly pathetic. It’s how I imagine many men’s voices sound to many women.”
With its themes of travel, Ethier compares Further Up Island to Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, while his humorous character sketches are inspired by Randy Newman’s Good Old Boys. The sparse bedrock of vocals and guitar draws on the minimalist approach of Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger, but these songs’ spiritual inspiration arrived in the form of a simple question: what if Ween was serious? “I have a very early ’90s attitude towards experimentation when it comes to playing with samples and genres,” Ethier concludes. “My songs can be borderline maudlin but there’s always a fly in the ointment pushing them towards silliness. Sandro and I both have an affinity for that kind of playfulness and the discoveries that can be made when you’re having fun.”
Further Up Island
May 28, 2021
via Telephone Explosion Records
1. Are You Going
2. Doodah Man
3. Nature Compels Me
5. Rolling Stones
7. Slow the Wheel
8. The Moon is Round and Empty
9. Wild Goldfish
10. You Ride My Mind
11. Wild Blueberries
12. I’ll Reject Myself
13. On the Wheel
14. My Mind