Arkells find right musical turn with Michigan Left

It took just minutes to get feedback on two-and-a-half years’ worth of work.

Canadian alternative-rock band the Arkells released online its second full-length album, Michigan Left, online at midnight on Oct. 18. The nature of the release allowed for immediate feedback.

Max Kerman, lead vocalist and guitarist, said the band appreciated the responses it received.

“A lot has changed in technology,” said Kerman. “With Twitter and Facebook, people have said some really kind things. It’s been a pretty amazing experience.”

The album was named for a song featured on it about the confusing traffic system in the state of Michigan.

“I like the idea of going the wrong way first,” Kerman said, referring to having to turn right before heading left.

He said the intent of the song is to help figure out what’s right in regard to relationships and life.

“We were lucky that people seemed to really relate to the record.”

After winning a Juno Award for new group of the year in 2010, Kerman said the only pressures on the album were ones the band put on itself.

“I think, if you ask any band, regardless of how small or big they are, it’s always an uphill battle,” he said.

“No matter what you get, you always want to reach to the next level.”

Kerman said Michigan Left is similar and different from the band’s first album, Jackson Square.

“It’s similar in that it’s fun to move to, fun to sing and fun to play,” Kerman said.  “

The main difference is that, sonically, this record sounds different.”

Kerman referred to the different keyboards, mixing and musical influences.

“Spoon and Fleet-wood Mac are bands we weren’t familiar with in 2008,” he said.

The new album was highly anticipated after three years.

“It’s been pretty busy,” Kerman said of the band balancing writing, touring and recording.

“You want an album with a lot of mileage and legs.”

He wants the album to resonate so he can focus on his favourite part of being in the Arkells — performing.

“It’s amazing showing up at a city hundreds of kilometres away from your hometown and having people show up.”

“We spent a lot of time working, creating and prepping it,” Kerman said.  “Now, we get to tour it.”

The Arkells play at The Blue Grotto on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.

Tickets to the 19-plus event are $20 and can be purchased in advance at Long and McQuade, 955 Lorne St.

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