After over four decades, Canada’s legendary electro-pop band Men Without Hats (MWH) is still going strong and still taking its trademark sound to unexpected places. On September 24, MWH will release Again (Part 1), a five-song EP featuring covers of The Tragically Hip, Lou Reed, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, along with an all-new reimagined version of the group’s signature hit “The Safety Dance,” reimagined as “No Friends of Mine” and available as a single on August 25.
Again (Part 1) marks the beginning of yet another phase of MWH’s storied career, coming on the heels of both “The Safety Dance” and 1987’s “Pop Goes the World” being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2020. With founding members Ivan and Colin Doroschuk now joined full-time by guitarist Sho Murray, the group recorded Again (Part 1)—along with the forthcoming all-original Again (Part 2)—throughout the last half of 2020 at its studio on Vancouver Island where the Doroschuk brothers have resided for over 20 years since moving from their hometown of Montreal.
The decision to make an EP of covers was intended to offer a glimpse of some of the (perhaps unlikely) artists that have been longtime MWH favourites.
“Recording this record was an almost magical experience, we put together our own studio in a house high up in the mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Vancouver Island and spent seven months in total isolation making music from sunrise to sundown, with only a family of 13 peacocks for company. Some of the songs are brand new, some were written over the past 10 years on the road, making demos in the back of the tour bus, and some were written way back in the ’80s and never recorded until now.
The new album is a good window into where the band is at presently after reforming in 2010, and it’s a great preview of more things to come,” said lead vocalist Ivan Doroschuk.
Although Again (Part 1) is a look back into the past, the actual recording process once again demonstrated that Men Without Hats remains on the cutting edge of technology, just as the Doroschuks were in the early 1980s. It’s part of what’s helped the band weather every musical trend that has come since to the point where “The Safety Dance” is now one of the most instantly recognizable songs in the world.
It has been used in countless advertising campaigns and was memorably performed by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots for the One World: Together at Home special in 2020. Most recently, acclaimed singer/songwriter Angel Olsen did her own version for her ‘80s-themed covers EP, Aisles.
Men Without Hats’ Again (Part 1) is the band’s first release on Sonic Envy, the label launched by Canadian music industry veteran Brian Hetherman, whose sister company Cerberus also manages MWH. The band is playing select North American dates this summer, with more detailed touring plans for 2022 expected to be announced soon.
MEN WITHOUT HATS – Again (Part 1)
1. Satellite of Love (Originally recorded by Lou Reed)
2. All the Young Dudes (Written by David Bowie, originally recorded by Mott The Hoople)
3. Blow at High Dough (Originally recorded by The Tragically Hip)
4. 2000 Light Years from Home (Originally recorded by The Rolling Stones)
5. No Friends of Mine (Originally recorded as “The Safety Dance”)