The Provincial Archive, I would assume are unknown to many people. Based out of Edmonton, the band was formed in 2008 by Craig Schram, Nathan Burge, Ryan Podlubny, and Bramwell Park, rising out of the ashes of earlier musical projects. For the last five years, they have been enhancing their craft, and during this time, they have also independently released two albums, Nameless Places, in 2008, and their second album, Maybe We Could Be Holy, which followed in 2010. However if you’re waiting for that third release, unless you live in Germany where the third album, It’s All Shaken Wonder has already been released, you will have to bide your time with the new EP, Hide Like A Secret. The North American release of the full-length album is not due until later this summer.
Even with just four tunes, Hide Like A Secret is a musical offering that is certainly intriguing. The three original tunes, “Daisy Garden,” “The Pointe Work,” “Young & Bloodless,” offer a fascinating albeit brief glimpse into what lies ahead. The songs are mostly folk-ish in nature, striking a fine balance between the thoughtful (“Don’t drop your words, they come heavy from your lip to the curb” from the song “Daisy Garden”) to the uneasy (“Mother will tend to every injury, for each blow delivered by the soft beauty in the ring” from “The Pointe Work”).
The Provincial Archive – “Daisy Garden”
Closing off Hide Like A Secret is a cover of the Elliot Smith tune, “Son of Sam.” Schram says, “We’re huge Elliott Smith fans, and it was amazing to work through something that we love in detail.” “Son” was recorded live off the floor, a process which broke new ground for the band. “It’s a different way of working for us—everything has to come together at once in the studio and, as your can hear, it paid off in the end.” The single camera, single shot, video of the band recording the track provides a further teaser and a behind-the-scenes look at things to come.
The Provincial Archive – “Son Of Sam”
The music throughout the EP is well-focused around strong vocal harmonies, and melodies that easily intertwine themselves around the understated instrumentation. This all works as a fine showcase for a band that is clearly still evolving and finding its comfortable groove.
The band’s recent signing to Black Box Music has provided them with a bit of a comfort zone. “It’s incredible to be encouraged to make the kind of records and music that we want to make,” says Schram. “It’s really allowing us to concentrate on the writing and recording of new material.”
If whetting your appetite for something more is what an EP is all about, then Hide Like A Secret proves that The Provincial Archive have done their job.
Look for the full-length follow-up to arrive later this summer.
– Marvin Matthews