Michaela Galloway: vocals, flute, oboe, keys, percussion
John Lucas: guitar, baritone guitar, bass
Cameron McLellan: bass, guitar
Gregg Steffensen: drums, percussion, noise
Greg Williams: guitar, keys
Call it a labour of love. For the release of its sophomore album, The Picture Plane, Vancouver’s Hinterland has chosen to take matters into its own hands by putting the disc out on its own label, the newly minted Submerged Records. “The extra work is worth it,” says guitarist John Lucas, “because we really believe in this record.” With the new tracks given an extra coat of high-gloss sheen by ace producer Caleb Stull and the band’s songwriting more concise and focused than ever before, The Picture Plane should win Hinterland even more acclaim than that garnered by the group’s debut, Under the Waterline.
That disc was released in 2003 by Michigan-based HybridElectric Records. The Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s leading weekly paper, praised the album: “A subtle, shifting wonder, Under the Waterline mixes indelible melodies with soothing layers of ambient guitars to create one of the most richly textured records of the year.” The Straight also named Under the Waterline the best local album in its 2004 Georgia Straight Music Awards, and the Straight’s readers voted Michaela Galloway “best lead singer” and Hinterland “most underrated”.
This is music that has inspired critics to use superlatives such as “evocative”, “atmospheric”, and “irresistible”. In Hinterland’s world, the standard rock instrumentation of guitars, bass, and drums is often augmented by unexpected touches of oboe, flute, glockenspiel, baritone guitar, EBow, and synthesizer. The songs shimmer, drone, and chime, sometimes lulling the listener into a blissful state before blasting off into the ether, and everything is topped by soaring, otherworldly vocals.
The Picture Plane was recorded by the same line-up that created Under the Waterline, but guitarist-keyboardist Kyle Fogden departed amicably afterwards and Greg Williams stepped in to fill the void. The new disc uses the sound Hinterland established on its debut as a launching pad, but this time the band takes things even further: the heavy bits are punchier, the hooks are sharper, and the ambient passages far dreamier. “I think this album is a better expression of what we’re trying to do, and where we’re going as a band,” concludes Galloway.
Hinterland has appeared on national television in Canada, and has shared the stage with bands like Monade, The Album Leaf, The Hermit, Paper Moon, and A Northern Chorus.