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MUSIC

Premier pro

Local dream-pop band Saskatchewan on their storied past, their humble present and their headline-making heritage

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Strang, however, credits his religious upbringing for much of his – and, naturally, Saskatchewan’s – musical stylings. “Everyone learns every instrument in church band and an anthemic type of song structure,” Strang says. “Part of the reason I started Saskatchewan is because I wanted to do something where I was something other than a drummer.”

Indeed, that foundation informs much of the band’s sound. Although soundscapes flow freely in Saskatchewan, there is a noticeable structural tightness that’s a departure from their Ariel Pink, Twin Shadow and Beach House influences. It’s an organic meshing that can be traced to the years its members spent playing together in different configurations since high school. While Strang is undoubtedly in creative control, every member of his parliament leaves a fingerprint, particularly co-frontman and merry prankster Michael Serrin, also of An Introduction to Sunshine. Taking the Bar-BQ-Bar stage, Serrin ignites the crowd (or, at least, gets them to look up from their beers), taking the microphone for the band’s best song, “Dream Boat,” an infectious surf-pop throwback with an oddball rhythm that recalls the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese.” Strang’s Rorschachian vocals, on the other hand, are more dampening, ominous and synth-heavy, such as on the track “Skinny Dipping,” which sounds like an outtake from the Drive soundtrack.

Following recent tweaks, like the addition of former Mirror Pal drummer Ranson Vorpahl, Saskatchewan have worked tirelessly to become more fully realized – they expect to release their debut full-length album at the end of the summer – and more successful. They’d better hope so.

Says Strang with alarming casualness: “[My parents] knew I played in a psychedelic band, but when they found out I drank and smoked, they wrote me out of their will.”

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