Origin: Toronto, Ontario
Few bands can be simultaneously timeless and relevant, but that's exactly the hi-wire act Zeus has become as a new millennium hit factory set for a triumphant return with the release of sophomore full-length Busting Visions.
The album follows 2010 Polaris Prize-nominated debut Say Us, which topped CBC charts, won XM The Verge's award for Album of the Year, garnered stellar reviews from top rock mags like Q and Uncut and led to shows with Broken Social Scene, Metric, Sam Roberts Band, Bright Eyes and Belle & Sebastian.
And with all of this, Busting Visions finds Zeus already hitting the ground running.
Driven by the three-headed songwriting beast of multi instrumentalists/vocalists Mike O'Brien, Carlin Nicholson and Neil Quin as well as drummer Rob Drake, they operate out of a dilapidated garage in Toronto's scrappy east end. There, the band's Ill Eagle studio serves as ground zero for a burgeoning scene of collaborators, for which Zeus is the lightning rod.
And it was there - as well as the ranch studio of label mate Feist - Busting Visions took shape, and where it was produced, recorded and mixed by the band alongside longtime collaborator Robbie Lackritz (Feist, Jamie Lidell).
Busting Visions' 14 tracks were penned on bedside motel stationary, coffee shop napkins, the backs of unopened-bill envelopes, scraps of drywall, anything these bright-eyed, shaggy-headed 'cowboys' (a band colloquialism) could scratch their manifold musings on. Hooks were hashed out on hotel lobby pianos, backstage pianos and pawnshop guitars in the third-row bench of the van.
They wrote incessantly over two years of helter skelter touring, spurred on by the prolific dynamic of three writers that can?t help but finish each other's sentences.
"The story of this record is that it?s really our first as a band," O'Brien explains, pointing to the fact that Say Us ultimately drew from a revolving door of creative contributors.
"This is a tight-knit unit of four dudes that are now Zeus," adds Nicholson. "Something that really only came together over two years on the road."