Spend a bit of time walking through downtown Toronto and live music will jump out at you: from buskers, from small stage matinees, outdoor events, open second-floor windows and from somewhere else, rumbling up above where you can’t see it. Having been around now for more than six years, The Key Frames have been all of those bands at one point or another.
For the past two summers, the Key Frames have followed up well-received appearances at Toronto's North By Northeast festival with a slew of cross-Canada summer tour dates. In 2011, the band promoted their debut album, "Out On The Point", with a fourteen-gig, nine-day tour of Atlantic Canada, working literally day and night. In 2012, their sophomore album was supported with another nine days in the Maritimes and Quebec, and then followed by a three week jaunt by the band's two guitarists to the Yukon, Vancouver Island, and everywhere in between.
The band has recently had the opportunity to share the stage with the likes of the Weber Brothers at Port Dover's Lighthouse Theatre, and The Sadies at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern for the 2013 edition of their long-running New Years' Eve bash.
The tours and albums alike have helped bring into focus the tight but varied elements of what The Key Frames do best: rootsy, banjo-inflected rockers; gutsy, Everlys-meet-Stax vocal harmonies; soaring, classic pop hooks next to lonely late-night laments. One listen will tell you that guile isn’t really their thing. Finding the depth and contrast in simple and appealing melodies, however, is.
Building on the enthusiastic audiences, blog and alt-weekly love, and college radio chart forays they garnered the first time around, “Low Light High Light” features the veteran production of Josh Finlayson (Skydiggers, Gord Downie) and mixing engineer Don Pyle (Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet). Replete with eleven new tracks, their second disc shows a continuity and an evolution of their style. It retains the same energy and effortless attention to song craft that fans of the band are used to, but this time out, viewed through a glass darkly. Or at least through a darker glass.
“Low Light High Light” and “Out On The Point” are available through iTunes, Bandcamp, and other online retailers, and at select record stores. The Key Frames’ complete gig listing and more is available at www.thekeyframes.com.