Arms Up, a Saskatoon-based atmospheric indie band, are gearing up for the release of the second installment of their four-part concept album, The Cartographer’s Ore, as well as their return to the stage.
Although they have been on hiatus for some time, Arms Up leader Matt Voyno reports that the group is merely recollecting in order to essentially crush audiences with a more-focused, expanded sound.
“Arms Up were on hiatus because we wanted to learn how to record on our own,” says Voyno. “In order to become a self-sustaining band we needed to understand the whole process of recording. That meant buying the proper recording gear, reading some books, making mistakes and slowly finding the sound we are looking for.
“That stuff takes a while with us, but because this band will be around for a long time, we knew it was a worth our while to take our time and learn it properly. So here we are a year or so later getting ready to put on our first show.”
Arms Up’s first album, the similarly-titled, not-confusingly named Cartographer’s Ore, is a patchwork of indie rock and horn-infused soulfulness, perfectly balancing out moments of blissed-out psychedelia and sunny, reverb-soaked atmospheric washes. Coupled with meandering vocals that stretch out lazily, the music is often taut and too smart to ever disintegrate completely into noise jams.
But despite the identical album monikers, Voyno explains that it’s all part of a grander scheme.
“The Cartographer’s Ore is the second part of our four-part concept album about a cartographer out to explore new worlds,” says Voyno. “The first installment, The Cartographers Oar, was about leaving old worlds for new ones. Our newest release is about chemicals, minerals, the earth and geo-engineering.
“The Cartographer’s albums are a loosely based concept album that is meant to be a creative platform for the band to explore new themes and styles in our music,” he continues. “It was inspired by a camping trip into the Canadian bush and our personal obsession with canoes and the green of the wilderness.”
With their newest release, Arms Up have several live appearances in the works.
“We’ve got a show on Saturday August 27th at Jale, new music up September 1st, a video shortly after and more shows in the fall,” says Voyno.
“Also lately we’ve been told we sound like the Talking Heads so there’s that.”