Heroes & Villains have always had one bottom line: to create the perfect popular rock n’ roll song.
Composed of guitar slinger/songwriter C. Pierre Megarbane, baritone vocalist Raphael Parent, bassman Jeremy Proville and drum master Dominique Salameh, the Montreal- based quartet of Heroes &Villains have been stirring hearts and minds for three solid years and two stellar debut albums.
The 2005 EP, All the Giants are Buried at Sea introduced us to the melodic delights of C. Pierre Megarbane’s glassy guitar driven Fender-benders, exposing timeless classics “ESA-2000”, potential singles like “Loveline” and tributes like the majestic “Ruby Keeler”. Recorded at the landmark Hotel2Tango in Montreal’s Mile-End district, site of the recording of the first Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade albums, the EP’s construction with mad scientist Howard Bilerman was an epic experience for the good natured boys.
Heroes & Villains are a band that never shied away from the artists’ life of grueling work in exchange for small but accumulating rewards. Starting from the smallest of shows for friends they gradually emerged onto the highly competitive circuit that is the Montreal independent music scene, and it certainly can be said that they presently float near the top of the heap.
After numerous winter shows spanning clubs and festivals, songs from the EP began to take a path of their own. Many ventured into the Top 50 Canada College Radio Charts from August to November in 2005 . The catchy “Firstname.lastname” somehow found its way down under to New Zealand radio. Crowd motivator “Drink” was recently caught being played in a Mont-Royal S.A.Q cellar. Meanwhile, the Heroes would be invited to record two live radio sessions at Concordia University’s radio, ranked number 1 in the country. BBC host Steve Lamacq would feature H&V on the “Montreal Exposed” documentary while late-afternoon TV features on the Vox Channel featured the band’s work. McGill University and local publications covered the group numerous times, while the blogs began their praise.
It was soon enough when C. Pierre Megarbane demonstrated to its most hardcore fans just how prolific his songwriting could be by laying down a new series of tunes, that the rest of the band would turn into some of the most timeless melodies that would form the planned LP.
Entitled Air Sea Rescue, the new LP would be identity defining statement much awaited by fans and critics all the same. Claims of the band’s likeness to other contemporaries would soon be silenced when the LP’s tales, stories and anthems resonated throughout the speakers, both at home and live.
With well established recognition on the Montreal rock scene, and spurred by an burgeoning international fan base both on and off-line, the band’s self-managed, self-financed & self-chauffeured tour of Ontario and Quebec during the summer of 2006 brought the new generation of Heroes & Villains songs to fresh ears.
The tour would hone the band’s live skills, tightening each section into a veritable rock machine able to reproduce shows blowing full steam night after night, regardless of the turnout at venues. It would be also an opportunity to befriend other indie outfits hailing from various Canadian locales, all praising Heroes & Villains shows as “must-see band”.
The week prior to the album release, Heroes & Villains were asked to open for well established UK outfit British Sea Power in Montreal. There the band proved their songs and energy could easily contend with the bigger fish. This would be more than apparent at a sold-out album release show for Air Sea Rescue at the Divan Orange on November 17th. Packed to the brim, this showcased the Heroes & Villains’ now quasi-legendary status on the Montreal strip.
In November 2006, the song “Stella Maris”, titled after the famous sunken Irish ship, would appear in Nightlife Magazine’s anniversary compilation.
Air Sea Rescue is a production which cannot disappoint, and is sure to build upon the buzz and momentum accumulated by the quartet in the past few years. It will set college radio alight, and with good distribution, will not be stopped.