a small country hamlet on the outskirts of Toronto, two happily married high-school
sweethearts live in an old church with their two little girls. She sings his beautifully
written songs and he records them in their modest home studio space. They've been
doing this for fifteen years. From D.I.Y. early 90's indie success, to major label
gold and now back again to their indie roots, they've been laying low in their
rural hideaway, doing what they do best. They are the Wild Strawberries
(also known as Roberta Carter Harrison and Ken Harrison). And they're back with
a gorgeous new album, Deformative Years.
lot of people have been emailing us over the past few years, asking us if we're
still alive," says Ken Harrison, the writer/producer half of the pop-rock duo.
"So we kind of feel like we owe something to the people who've stuck with us
for so long."
the years, the Harrisons have built up a significant and loyal fan base, beginning
with their self-released indie cassette, Carving Wood Spectacles
and subsequently, their 1992 debut CD, Grace. 1993's
EP, Life Sized Marilyn Monroe, was the perfect precursor
to their follow-up breakthrough album, Bet You Think I'm Lonely.
Both albums spawned title-track hit singles, the latter garnering them a Juno
nomination for Best New Band.
signing to Nettwerk in 1995, and seeing their album Heroine
hit gold, the Wild Strawberries found themselves in a whirlwind
of mainstream success, with more radio hits, an intense tour schedule (including
several Lilith Fair dates) and an ever-growing fan base that couldn't get enough
of the charming couple and their captivating brand of moody art-pop.
pair went on to release 1998's Quiver and then Twist
in 2000 - a critically-acclaimed album that began as a Nettwerk-supported project
and ended up being released independently after creative differences at the
label forced the Harrisons to go out on their own.
so ended the Wild Strawberries' label dependency for good.
returning to their quiet indie roots has treated the band extremely well, giving
them a not-so-quiet, happy, busy and of course artistically successful four-and-a-half
years. After being scooped up by well-known European trance DJ ATB, the pair
recorded and released seven singles in Europe (hitting #7 in Germany the first
week out on their very first attempt).
sold more records the first week out in Germany than we did our entire career
in Canada," says Roberta, incredulously. "We've just been having a blast in
Europe, it's been really gratifying for us." Adds Roberta, with a laugh: "It's
that classic David Hasselhoff syndrome - we're big in Germany!"
no surprise the Canadian couple are so well-received by such a discerning European
audience. Their astonishing talents are undeniable. From Ken's smooth sounds
and strikingly intelligent lyrics (poetry known for its subtle brilliance),
to Roberta's deep, breathtaking vocals, they've won the hearts of audiences
and critics alike over the span of their meaningful musical career.
listen to Deformative Years and it all comes rushing
back. With no external producers (the album was completely self-written, recorded,
produced and mixed in their home studio) and a no-frills, organic approach from
beginning to end - this latest addition to the Wild Strawberries
catalogue is arguably their best yet.
with infectious and hypnotic melodies, sensuous vocals, hooky choruses and an
overall whimsical, yet haunting pop sensibility, the new record adds a sophisticated
groove to their familiar brand of atmospheric pop-rock.
the first album in a long time that we haven't written for anybody but ourselves,"
says Roberta. "We did it because we simply love what we do."
an album with a lot of heart - written in a heartwrenching time.
have two very young kids in their formative years and it just seems like the
world around them is falling apart," says Roberta. "There's a dark edge to the
lyrics, but still quite a bit of hope."
directly post September 11th, Deformative Years is a creative glimpse of what
it's like to be new parents during such tumultuous times.
was the first time I started to write about being a parent," says Ken. "It was
during a time when everything bad was happening - children were getting abducted,
buildings were blowing up - it was overwhelming." Adds Ken: "If there's one
line from the album to hang the whole record off of, it'd be 'I've got nothing
left to tell my children.'"
don't have to tell their children anything - they've poured it all into Deformative
Years. From a quaint home in an old church in their country hamlet,
the Wild Strawberries have made a magnetic, romantic record
of love songs for their girls, for each other and for anyone who believes in
the beauty that still remains in this world.
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