Today, acclaimed indie-rock band Fast Romantics have announced that their highly anticipated new album, Pick It Up will be released on August 6, 2020, via Postwar Records. Alongside the album announcement, the band has unveiled the title track and its accompanying quarantine-friendly video. Inspired by lead singer Matt Angus’ lifelong battle with depression and anxiety, “Pick It Up” is a spirit-lifting rock ’n’ roll ballad that acted as a personal pep talk for the singer as he overcame months of crippling depression.
“I’ve fought depression and anxiety most of my life, at times it probably nearly killed me. Sometimes it wasn’t related to anything I could control, but this time it was a self-inflicted episode… I didn’t know what I was doing it for anymore. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t do much of anything except obsess about the news and chase my own tail.”
Angus continues, “At some tipping point, I forced myself to sit at the piano, and this childhood memory of my mother came flooding in. My mother is an all-powerful, unstoppable force of nature. She has more energy than an Olympic sprinter, she fights through anything that comes her way, and she’s been through some tough shit in her life. When I was a kid, I’d oscillate similarly as I do now between bouts of confident, prolific creativity and unstoppable malaise. If in one of those low phases as a fourteen-year-old I’d be lying on the couch hypnotized by a television for too long, she’d inevitably be there, telling me to pick myself up and do something useful. But all grown up, hearing that voice in my head that morning at the piano, it all at once snapped me out of it.”
In the two years following the release of their 2017 critically acclaimed sophomore album American Love, which CBC’s q dubbed “a revelation of a record” and featured both the “triumphant”, spirit-lifting pop-rock hit “Julia” and the anthemic commercial radio success, “Why We Fight”, Angus found himself prolifically crafting song ideas. Plagued by what he now describes as “a paralyzing whirlwind of self-doubt paired with an extreme desire to find some kind of nebulous ‘different’ thing”, the songwriter left the majority of the songs that him and his bandmates spent countless hours working on in the studio, unfinished. The one exception being the infectious CBC chart-topping single “Do No Wrong”, which the band dropped in the Spring of 2019. When not in the studio, Fast Romantics found themselves on the road touring across North America, but despite promises made to fans from the stage, there appeared to be no sign of a finished record insight.
Becoming increasingly frustrated with the standstill that the band had found themselves in and in an effort to once again find their footing, the six-piece took a retreat to California. While there, news of the Covid-19 pandemic was brewing, but when the trip had to be cut short due to rumours of border closures, it was on the tense flight back home that Angus finally snapped out of his longstanding funk. “We had so many songs we were proud of. And we knew we had more than just one album. It was an embarrassment of riches. The world was telling us life was short. It was time to finish something.”
And so, as the world hit the brakes and went into lockdown, Fast Romantics put their foot on the gas. Quarantined away in their separate apartments, songs were divided into two distinct records over emails and video calls. The first record they would finish would become Pick It Up.
Additional production and mixing by Montreal’s Marcus Paquin (Arcade Fire, The National, Timber Timbre), Pick It Up is a collection of clever, deeply honest songs that reflect the time in which they were written. Showcasing Angus’ finely-honed songwriting abilities, the eight songs on the album explore the dualities we face as humans and the complexity of our emotions. “The Rules” addresses childhood bullying and the victimization of marginalized individuals, while “Hallelujah, What’s It To Ya?” sees Angus reflecting on his own religious upbringing.
“Due to the pandemic we can’t tour this record,” comments Angus. “We hope this collection of songs finds its way to your town by virtue of being passed along across the internet, as we all patiently wait in our houses for this uncertain force that we can’t control to burn out. While we wait, we’ll be building up the strength to “Pick It Up” when the time is right.”
Hailed as an ‘Artist to Watch’ in 2017 (Google Play), Fast Romantics is comprised of Matthew Angus (vocals, guitar), Jeffrey Lewis (bass), Kirty (vocals, acoustic guitar, synth), Kevin Black (guitars), Lisa Lorenz (keyboards) and Nick McKinlay (drums). Their SOCAN award-winning single Julia was hailed by NPR as “triumphant” and CBC’s q described their LP American Love as “a revelation of a record.” The band found top 20 commercial radio success in Canada with Why We Fight, and earned multiple #1 songs on CBC music’s national chart. Winners of SOCAN’s songwriting prize, “Best Pop Group” at the Sirius XM Indies, and short-listed for Reeperbahn Festival’s Anchor Award in Germany, as well as the Prism Prize in Canada. The six-piece are based in Toronto, Ontario and have toured nationally and internationally over a dozen times.