Built around his soulful, worn-in voice and wrapped in tender harmonies, Alex Coley & Afterlove explore the elemental tension between joy and pain; heartache and healing; what was and what will be. Alex Coley is a Nova Scotia-based songwriter and indie-folk musician with an affinity for novelty, big feelings and good questions. Music has always been a compulsion for Alex – his headspace an enduring and immutable arc of melody. It became an obsession after a long drive across the Maritimes with his dad. It was the first time he heard Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides Now’ over the crackly speakers from the back seat of his dad’s red Ford Aerostar. Like all things worth enduring, Alex’s relationship with music has been complex, terrifying and inevitable.
In his debut album The Arc, made possible by a Canada Council grant, Alex’s thoughtful songwriting uses the personal as a portal into the universal. His vulnerable and intimate lyrics will be sure to dredge up feelings you forgot were there – inviting you to gracefully move through melancholy. The deeply emotional, stirring songs offer a clarity you can often only find when you get really quiet; at the end of a long winding road travelled alone. His songs seek to articulate what we lack the vocabulary for, helping us make sense of the things that often don’t.
The album was written in isolation, but came to life in community; it is alive with the people and landscapes that were foundational to its creation. Most of the recording happened in a small studio in rural Nova Scotia during the heat of the summer, nestled amongst an old birch forest, with all six bandmates crammed between an old CRT TV and an Atari game console. Alex and his bandmates, Braden Kammermans (bass), Ted Morris (drums), Connor Robins (lead guitar), Sarah Roberts (harmony), and Dan Richards (keys), each brought their unique sound and perspective to the album. The Arc was produced by bandmate and friend, Braden Kammermans (Sleepy Kicks), who encouraged the disruption of folk cliches by offering a less predictable and more scuzzy sound.
The Arc arrives at the end of this locked-down, fearful era when gazing backward was all we had, serving as a beautiful reminder of the transformative power of introspection. The songs that emerge are both melancholic and hopeful, capturing themes of nostalgia, resilience, heartbreak and unexpected clarity. Alex Coley & Afterlove’s music reminds us that the darkest, windiest days are often the days we feel deeper and love harder.
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