Formerly known as Smothered in Hugs (named after the Guided by Voices song), English Words used to rock out a bit more than Red Potion suggests. Our music was fairly aggressive, and I wouldnt say hateful, but lead singer Ryan Crane said. He went on to explain that it felt like a lot to ask people to keep coming to shows and we were kind of tired of us. Considering that YouTube text beneath the music video for Red Potions single People I Love reads, Every summer we have a cottage party. This year we filmed it, and features what looks like the greatest time ever set to lyrics like, With my friends, with the people I love, oh yeah well clearly hateful is no longer applicable.
Red Potion is the bands self-released debut under this new moniker. It’s a blast from the 80s past as synth pop and new wave meander to the forefront for these once-angry Canadians. Ten tracks dip and clamber through buoyancy, with high-energy, danceable numbers (Devil Under the Bed, People I Love) pitted against Bad Joke and Go To Bed, which permeate a darker, drama-soaked ambience. And then there is Takeover Panthers, a delightful homage to post-punk, with Cranes Morrissey-esque vocals sailing over neo-pscyhedllic guitars, the ever-present synth, and the albums chosen backbone: the drum machine.
The lyrical transformation of the band is most blatantly seen when Crane sings, Return all my lovers the way there were before we met. Its a beautifully cynical way to speak about matters of the heart, a topic of which Crane says, We would never sing about love before. We didnt want to be singing about care bears and puppy dogs, and were not in these songs, but its a little more in that direction, which is cool for us. They most successfully twirl in that same direction on People I Love whose warm and fuzzy friend lyrics, catchy bridge, and high-frequency guitars make it a tune that should go on everyones party playlist.
Essential Tracks: ”People I Love”, “Takeover Panthers”