Home Is Where the Beat Is

Adam and the Amethysts Light Up Their Sound

Photo Celia Perrin

Fresh off what they lovingly call a “patchy string of fun Canadian tour dates,” local psychedelic pop-folk quartet Adam and the Amethysts will be returning home to celebrate the launch of their latest album, Flickering Flashlight.

The project, led by singer-guitarist Adam Waito, is back to properly commemorate their second effort with a Montreal show after promptly hitting the road upon its release in early October. Released on Kelp Records, Flickering Flashlight is a three-year-long cumulative project of eclectic influences, recorded in Waito’s home.

The album holds a dozen sounds and stories of simmering nostalgic remnants, brimming with tales of new journeys through collaborative invention. The band started as a solo recording project, but has increasingly become a full-sized band.

Waito began working on the project in 2008 and has been weaving in new influences ever since. The band is constantly reinvigorating their songs, so whether you hear them live, on wax or online, you’ll find several sides to the evolving singer/songwriter.

“My influences are pretty eclectic,” he said. “The most recent album is informed by a lot of music from the ‘60s and ‘70s of various genres… like pop music, psychedelic music but not just that, the ‘80s, the ‘90s, now. Basically just trying to make music that I like, [and] all of these influences seeped in.”

The band’s debut LP Amethyst Amulet was released in 2008 and reflected on Waito’s hometown of Thunder Bay, ON. It captured what it was like growing up in Northern Ontario, what it felt like leaving home and then returning to it.

When asked about the over-arching theme of Flickering Flashlight, Waito said, “It’s more about being from a small town, being in a new strange city and struggling to find community and finally being successful at that goal. It’s about getting through rough times with the help of your friends.”

Although Adam does most of the writing himself, band members are later invited to reinterpret his work, creating a collaborative final product.

“Musical collaboration is really important to me and I think the future holds a lot more of that than historically has happened with Adam and the Amethysts.”

The band in its current form consists of cellist/keyboardist Rebecca Lessard, bassist Scott Johnson Gailey, drummer Jordan Robson Cramer and Waito.

Lessard “breathed a little bit of new life into [the songs],” said Waito, with her vocal harmonies and string performance.

Gailey contributes mainly to the live incarnation of the band and “has an interesting sensibility,” playing bass and drums in some songs on the record, while Cramer has previously worked with Waito in psych-synth poppers Miracle Fortress, his percussion skills making their way onto a few tracks on Flickering Flashlight.

Adam and the Amethysts / Nov. 10 (with Elfin Saddle) / La Sala Rossa (4848 St. Laurent Blvd.)