Sarah Harmer's second solo album from 2004 released on vinyl for the first time.
Deciding how to make my second album was a little stressful because You Were Here had given me lots of exposure and opportunity and I wanted to follow it up with something strong. Initially I thought I should work with a proven producer in a legit studio, but when CBC radio asked me to write a song about one of the deadly sins and I put it off for weeks, I wrote and recorded Took It All in my boyfriend’s studio apartment in one night. God love a deadline. We had such an inspired time that Marty Kinack and I decided to set up my farmhouse as a studio and make the album there.
With our car packed full of gear we stopped at some industrial strip mall and bought rolls of mic cables. Once we got to my place we soldered wires for a bunch of days, planning to run them across the house, down the staircase, from control room to microphone. Before long we had turned the old ‘slanty shanty’ into a studio. Over the coming months the biggest problems we would face were the classic distractions of working from home. The ping pong table especially was very popular. As the weather cooled the noise of the wood stove added some of its own sonics, pinging while it cooled down or heated up. I wanted to make sure that the record sounded “professional”, so we would wait for the fire to go out or try to keep it an an even temperature. When I listen to the album now I feel like it could handle some more natural ambience, and that professionalism, in the thick of creativity, can be highly overrated. Most days by mid-afternoon we would get serious, don the white lab coats (seriously and hilariously) and set to work capturing the songs. The laundry room was the vocal booth, drums were in the back mudroom and the control room was upstairs in a spare bedroom. I learned how to record and edit drums and guitar parts and piece by piece the tracks came together.
The old player piano that was at my house when I’d bought it made it onto the album, and has made it onto at least three other albums so far. Fave tracks for me: Greeting Card Aisle, Tether, Dandelions in Bullet Holes, Go To Sleep. When we were finished recording my manager and folks at the record label thought Almost and Pendulums didn’t sound as good as they could, so I recorded them again with my friend Gavin Brown in Toronto. They became the two singles.
As a side, I was never happy with the album cover. It was a compromise with the label in a time crunch. I’m happy that we threw the photo and inside album art into a collage blender for this Art & Crafts vinyl re-issue. - SH
3. Greeting Card Aisle
4. New Enemy
5. Silver Road
6. Dandelions In Bullet Holes
7. Things To Forget
8. Came On Lion
9. Took It All
11. Go To Sleep