Treble Charger’s pop sensibility won’t let it be an indie guitar band like Pavement or Sebadoh


By Steve Newton

Treble Charger singer-guitarists Greig Nori and Bill Priddle are huge fans of indie guitar bands like Pavement and Sebadoh. When it first started out, Treble Charger even wanted to be an indie guitar band like Pavement or Sebadoh. That just wasn’t in the cards.

“We used to pretend that we were gonna be one of those bands, but there was no hope,” says Nori, calling from the group’s Toronto home base. “We’ve got pop sensibility through and through, and it kinda took us till this album to really come to terms with that.”

The album Nori refers to is Maybe It’s Me, the quartet’s major-label debut on BMG. The disc was produced by Lou Giordano (Sugar, Belly, Goo Goo Dolls), and contains six tunes mixed by hotshot L.A. knob-twiddler Tom Lord Alge, whose unlikely studio routine took the Sault Ste. Marie native by surprise.

“He doesn’t let you come into the studio until about six in the evening,” explains Nori. “So we nervously killed the hours, walked in at six, sat down, he played us ‘Ever She Flows’, and we pretty much fell off the couch. It was bigger and better than we had ever heard us sound, and our first reaction was, ‘Holy shit, we can’t do this! This is way too big and huge and slick and sounds like Oasis or somethin’.’ ”

After a few more listens to Alge’s new and improved Treble Charger, the awestruck bandmates had to agree that his polishing of their initially raw material was, ultimately, a good thing.

“In our own minds, this record brought us from hearing ourselves as a D.I.Y. indie band to what Lou, our producer, has always said. He said, ‘You guys gotta quit pretending that you’re Sebadoh. You write really beautiful pop songs, and they should be produced and mixed that way.’ ”

Maybe It’s Me contains enough great tunes to make it this scribbler’s choice for Canuck guitar-pop CD of the year, but local fans can decide for themselves when the band plays the Starfish Room on Saturday (June 21). Nori says that it’s Treble Charger’s ultimate aim to write the perfect pop song, but admits that might not be in the cards either.

“It’s a nice one to strive for, I guess, but as someone once said, it’s the people who believe that they’ve reached their goals that end up turning into shit.”

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