It’s an exciting time right now for Ottawa band Saint Clare. Their brand new EP Moving On will be released on Tuesday, June 2, and they’re going to be playing at Ottawa Bluesfest this summer – an opportunity which lead singer Matthew Saint Clare calls “a dream come true.”
The band let Apartment613 listen to an advance streaming of the new EP, and now we get to share it with you. Check it out here!
The first thing that’s obvious in their songs is the unique composition of musicians in Saint Clare. Morgan Grant on tenor sax and Nick DiSaverio on trombone stand out in the rock group’s line-up, while the rest of the band is made up of Richard Jeffrey on guitar, Ryan Shannon on bass, Daniel Devries on drums, and Casey Comeau on piano, organ, and synth.
Matthew Saint Clare says he’s never sure how to define their sound as part of any genre.
“I think it’s like, equal parts of the pop music that I grew up with from my parents, you know, listening to Rod Stewart or whatever, as a kid, and then the garage movement, which is like my heritage in the music scene in Ottawa…it’s somewhere right in the middle.”
“Somewhere in the middle” proves to be good niche for the band. Moving On is a bold EP that bursts into action with “East Ending”, a track which allows the horn section to shine and shows just how well they fit in with the rockier sound of the band, grounded by electric guitar and drums. Matthew’s strong, rasping vocals bring it all together with frantic energy throughout their songs.
“[Moving On] is the proudest I’ve ever been about anything I’ve created, artistically,” Matthew says of the new EP. Over the past ten years, he’s played in various bands in Ottawa, most recently the Shakey Aches, before forming Saint Clare in 2012. He says he feels like he got it right this time around.
His confidence holds up in Moving On, an EP which seems just as assured of itself and its own unique sound. The eclectic line-up might make it hard to pin down Saint Clare in any one genre, but there’s nothing haphazard or random about the songs on their EP. They’ve carved out a niche for themselves and it’s a promising glimpse of where they want to go.
When it comes to lyrics, the songs on the EP focus on Matthew’s reflections about life – where he’s come from and what will be left behind after him.
“I like the idea of leaving something behind, it’s kind of a strange focus of mine,” he says. “It kind of became a driving force creatively, where it was like, ‘I can write songs, so I better write songs,’ because I’m not going to get the Nobel Prize or anything, so maybe if I can reach a few ears on my way to the final destination, then you know, that’s going to leave a legacy.”
This kind of reflection is clearest in the title track, “Moving On,” which finishes off the album, as Matthew sings “I just want to do something for myself and leave behind a bit more than my memory when my bones all turn to dust.”
“There’s an overriding theme of death, which is really weird, ‘cause it’s kind of a contrast between the feel of the song that’s pop-y, but then it’s kind of dark conceptually,” he says.
Although the new EP comes out next week, the band is already working on a full-length album which they plan to release early next year. After a weekend in the recording studio finishing the songs for the new album, Matthew said that Saint Clare has gained a more solid grip on their sound.
“It’s still pretty varied, but I think in terms of progression…it’s become less fragmented,” he said.
The biggest event on the horizon for the band right now is their performance at Bluesfest, which will take place Thursday, July 9 at 6pm.
“It sounds kind of juvenile, but I immediately called everyone I know and love to tell them I was playing Bluesfest – it was like I’d hit the lottery,” Matthew says.
“All of the locals that I’ve seen play Bluesfest in the 15 years I’ve lived here are my favourite bands in Ottawa, by all means, and this year’s line-up of locals is a really talented bunch, so it’s super flattering to be acknowledged.”
Saint Clare will be playing a release party for Moving On this Friday, June 5 at Cafe Dekcuf.