When a band names itself after the worlds only lactating contortionist stripper, you know you are in for something different. As with the original act, you know that some people are going to be fascinated, some will be in awe, and some will consider the whole lot to be a complete and utter waste of time. This is a band of extremes: screaming and pleading, ugly and beautiful, poetic and obscene, obvious and sublime. You can think of it however you want. That is after all, the point.
Alexisonfire rose up out of the Southern Ontario underground in late 2001 like some monstrous and utterly captivating car-accident-in-progress. Hitting the ground with an immediate full head of steam, Dallas Green, George Pettit, Wade MacNeil, Chris Steele and Jordan Hastings have not only impressed the critics with their sour/sweet approach to performance and writing, but are recognized for their stellar musicianship, and the palpably pent-up tightness of the band live.
This is music for both sides of your brain. In your left ear, the poignant and melodic vocals of Dallas, injected with the devilishly sweet phrasings of the axe-wielding Wade, speak of impulse and introspection. In your right ear, George offers the testimony of the tortured soul, syncopated power-scream vocals that energize and counterpoint -- a couple of cartoon-character angels and devils sitting on your shoulders, offering 2 very different interpretations of the same musical message.
Alexisonfire knows that the fans arent stupid. The fans know the real deal when they see it, and in the case of AOF, they seem to have told 2 friends, who told 2 friends, and so on. During the year that followed the release of the self-titled 2002 debut album, the band has shot into the spotlight like a streaker at an All-Star game: 5 videos reach Heavy rotation on MuchMusic (the first hardcore artist to ever chart at ..1 on Powershift); MMVA awards for Counterpoints and Number Them and Accidents; Best Video Award for Pulmonary Archery at The Indies (Canadian Independent Music Awards); CASBY awards in 2004 AND 2005; New Group of the Year at the 2005 Junos; major tours in Japan, Australia, and the UK; and the everlasting status as the poster boys for hardcore crossover appeal. Watch Out debuted at ..6 on the Top 200 Soundscan chart, the second highest debut that week. Twelve weeks later, the St. Catharines natives officially attained Gold Record certification in Canada, and have received a second Gold Record for the self-titled debut. This may all sound like SOP for an up-and-coming rock ensemble, but wait a minute; this is band that often describes its music as the sound of two Catholic high-school girls in mid-knife-fight. This hasnt happened before.
Nobody is more aware of this fact than the boys in Alexisonfire. Taking it all in stride, they remain guile-less, affable, and capable of equal amounts of sarcasm and self-deprecation. They rock huge venues like they would a sweaty all-ages club in St. Catharines, which in turn is rocked like they did when AOF germinated in the basements and rec rooms of their now proud but baffled parents not so long ago. AOFs songs scream of intellectual fury basted with ladlefuls of vocal pop melody; its a bipolar magnet, and if you stop and listen, or God forbid, see a live show, itll all oddly start to make sense. Resistance is futile.