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Tuesday, February 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Music

Canadian roots/indie rock quartet Current Swell matures on new album

The Current Swell will be at the Big Dipper on Thursday. (MAD LOVE)
The Current Swell will be at the Big Dipper on Thursday. (MAD LOVE)

Current Swell singer/guitarist Scott Stanton’s pre-tour checklist is surprisingly, well, average.

He has errands to run, laundry to do, and the dog needs a walk, all in preparation for the tour behind the Canadian roots/indie rock quartet’s sixth album “When to Talk and When to Listen,” which brings the band to the Big Dipper on Thursday.

“When to Talk and When to Listen” was recorded in Nashville, home to producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Norah Jones, Kings of Leon), and Vancouver, British Columbia, a ferry ride away from the band’s home in Victoria.

Stanton said the band’s fourth record, “Long Time Ago,” was recorded in about eight different places, so splitting the month-long recording period between two cities was easy in comparison.

“Nashville feels new and refreshing and different,” he said. “And in Vancouver, our partners can visit.”

Fans of his work, the quartet – Stanton, singer/guitarist Dave Lang, singer/bassist Ghosty Boy and drummer Chris Peterson – reached out to King with a few demos.

After listening to the songs, King agreed to produce the band’s album.

Things got off to a rough start though, after King told the overexcited band (“Everyone was talking too much,” Stanton said.) to get their heads in the game.

“Basically, he was like ‘You guys, this is not the band that makes a good record,’ ” Stanton said.

After a band meeting in which they told each other that King was the one who could help take them to the next level, the quartet regrouped and set to work.

“He was a good coach,” Stanton said. “He was the captain of the ship telling the men to do their job.”

“When to Talk and When to Listen” features 11 tracks co-written by Stanton and Lang. In the past, the pair wrote independently and came together to review songs, working on the ones that stood out to them both.

This time around, Stanton and Lang decided to scrap a majority of the 30-plus songs they had each written individually and start from scratch.

“It was definitely a lot of work, but it worked well because we could fully work on everything together,” Stanton said. “We could say ‘This song’s missing a chorus or a bridge,’ and really go the extra mile to make sure every part was done for each song.”

Many of the songs on “When to Talk and When to Listen” deal with love, loss and heartbreak.

This more mature Current Swell comes as a result of the band growing older and experiencing the loss of loved ones.

Stanton’s mother is recognized on “Marsha,” and Lang wrote the title track as his father-in-law’s life was drawing to a close.

“As we’re getting older, we’ve had friends that have passed away and loved ones that have passed away,” Stanton said.

“Dave just had a baby, so a lot of those things, as you get older, that’s all you’re thinking about. It’s going to show through in your work.”

Though the material is not as easy-breezy as some of Current Swell’s older work, Stanton and the rest of the band are excited to add songs from “When to Talk and When to Listen” to the set list.

“We’ve been playing the same songs for a while,” Stanton said.

“It’s fun to have a new show.”

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