First impressions can be deceiving. A quick glance at the title of Vancouver's Rose Chronicles' new disc Happily Ever After might generate images of softness and safety. Add to that equation the sweet soprano created by vocalist Kristy Thirsk, surround her with the lushness of Richard Maranda's ethereal guitar wizardry and the textured allure is obvious. But the true beauty to Happily Ever After exists within the disc's many layers; from the driving rhythms of the opener, "Bruise" to its emotionally-charged closing track "Lovely Psycho", Happily Ever After overflows with trademark Chronicle touches: soaring melodies, lyrical catharsis and epic soundscapes.
Since the group signed to Nettwerk in December of 1992 (only half a year after their inception), the Rose Chronicles have garnered a string of accomplishments. The band's debut--an EP entitled Dead And Gone To Heaven --reached the #1 slot on CMJ's Import Album chart in November 1993. It was a well-deserved sign of things to come. After releasing their eagerly awaited full-length, Shiver, at the top of '94, the group once again charted in CMJ, this time reaching to #22 on their Radio Top 150 chart, rating above the likes of Smashing Pumpkins, Pavement and the Cocteau Twins!
The group's reception in Canada was equally impressive, attaining the #1 position on the Canadian Campus Radio Top 50 chart in June of '94. In March the following year, the Rose Chronicles made history as the first band to win a Juno Award in the brand new category of 'Best Alternative Album'.
Constant cross-Canada touring has not only brought some well-deserved attention to the group's powerful live performances, it has provided the time and experience necessary to fully hone their individual crafts. From guitarist Maranda's trance-inducing sound waves to Kristy's dichotomous onstage persona--regularly transforming herself from angelic songstress to a pacing, unsettled Lady MacBeth-like figure in a matter of seconds-- devoted fans follow their powerful shows with near-religious zeal.
It is that same spontaneous energy which the band sought to capture when they entered the studio in the fall of '95 to record Happily Ever After. As Kristy explains it, "the last album was planned to a 't'; we tried to play and record it perfectly. With this one, we went more for performance rather than perfection. We just wanted to let whatever was going to happen happen."
With Kevin Hamilton (Moist, Mollies Revenge) at the helm, Rose Chronicles succeeded in their intended goal of capturing the power of their energized live set. Recorded at both Mushroom and Nettwerk's own Slack studios, the group took special care to get the mixing process done exactly right, bringing in a host of studio wizards. Greg Reely (who previously worked with Kristy on Nettwerk's release Delerium and earlier Chronicles' discs), Mike Plotnikoff (The Cranberries, The Devlins) and the aforementioned Hamilton all worked to get exactly the results that they were looking for.
Featuring a powerful new rhythm section and a hunger to bring their sounds to the world, Rose Chronicles are primed and ready to play. When asked where the band have next aimed their musical sights, Richard answers this way, "Our only goals are to grow as songwriters and players, and I think that's happening."