"I just wanna have some fun tonight," Jacob Dryden declares. "I'm gonna tear down these walls, 'cause tonight I'm a wrecking ball."
Those words come from "Tonight (I'm a Wrecking Ball)", the track that kicks off Sticks & Stones, the latest long-player by Dryden's band Quickness. The song's party-ready lyrics and sing-along chorus may seem single-minded when taken at face value. However, they carry a seize-the-moment message that is central to the Vancouver-based artist's songwriting.
It was a hard-won lesson. In the years leading up to the new record, Dryden lived through the dissolution of his marriage and the death of his long-time friend, Ray Garraway, who was Quickness's founding drummer.
"It's about death and rebirth, basically," Dryden says of the concepts that inform Sticks & Stones, which was recorded mostly at the frontman's own Song Lab Recording Studio. Referring specifically to the emotionally charged melodic rocker "Emergency", he notes that "it's about being in a scenario where you're trying to open your heart up, and you're trying to establish trust and build a foundation for a loving relationship again. That's definitely a big theme on the record.'
Heady topics aside, Sticks & Stones x Broken Homes - released on March 20 2020 - is an accessible mix of introspective tunes and flat-out rock anthems. The latter category includes the single "Miracle", a pulse-quickening blast of adrenaline built around fist-pumping guitar riffs and hammer-of-the-gods drumming. "Miracle" was mixed by Vancouver studio legend Dave "Rave" Ogilvie (Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson), and its crowd-pleasing sound is a taste of what keeps fans coming back to see Quickness live on stage.
Dryden estimates that he plays between 150 and 200 shows a year, and he's eager to get back on the road to promote Sticks & Stones and connect with the band's ever-growing legion of listeners. For him, that eagerness is rooted in the same spirit that informs his songwriting and drives everything else he does. As he sings on "Courage': "You need courage, to chase your desire/You only get one life."
Jacob Dryden: lead vocals, guitar Jim McLaren: vocals, guitar, keyboards Shawn Moran: bass, vocals Phil Gardner: drums, vocals, samples
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