fjord rowboat
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fjord rowboat

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fjord rowboat @ Pitter Patter Festival

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

fjord rowboat @ Gladstone

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

fjord rowboat @ Drake Hotel

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



Fjord Rowboat - The Silver Dollar,

12:30 am

Rating: VVVV

One of the best new bands in Toronto, Fjord Rowboat blend UK shoegazer (à la Ride and My Bloody Valentine) with the newer, anthemic dark-rock stylings of Interpol and Idlewild to create moody atmospheres, lush soundscapes, and catchy sing-along choruses.

Not afraid to tread both up- and down-tempo, Fjord's live show is unpretentious and anchored by a solid rhythm section featuring Kevin McKay (formerly of Vibrolux) on drums, and brother Ian McKay on bass. It was tragic indeed to see the Silver Dollar only half-full for their first CMW appearance. Songs like "Paragon," a slow-building instrumental number, and "Taking the Pass," which has the catchiest chorus I've heard this year, deserve to be played to a packed room. Definitely a rising band to keep an eye on.-JB - The varsity

It you’re looking for some pedal steel you’re reading the wrong review. On the other hand if you have been hankering after a bit of My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse or Ride you are definitely in the right place. These guys really know what they are doing with reverb and effects pedals; there are moments here like ‘Paragon’ when what they are doing becomes so beautiful that it transcends any genre and is just flat out good music. They can even make late period Sonic Youth sounds with the edges buffed off. This leaves twin guitars playing tag, the Thurston songs - ‘Taking the Pass’ is some of the best of SY derived rock since Broken Social Scene landed their debut and whilst the guitars may have the SY imprint, the vocals do not, so that there is some freshness about it.

Not everything reaches such heights - there are songs that are generic, but the hit rate is quite high; even the most generic pieces are done well. ‘Through the Morning Light’ is like ‘Faith’ era Cure played with chime instead of gloom. They never drift into that Kranky free-floating aimless swirling cloak of invisibility - there is focus, focus and meat. Best of the bunch is ‘Shootin’ the Breeze’ which starts like the post-rock of Tristeza with ringing guitars reverberating around, adds in some keyboards and starts to build momentum, breathes, builds again around languid bass notes through another verse the guitars start to spiral, fluttering into a vortex, all swept to Oz in the eye of the storm. Here is gentleness just tender strums, bulbous notes fading. It seems to be the perfect soundtrack to a long Canadian winter. - AmericanaUK

Even though they were playing to a tiny audience, Toronto locals the Fjord Rowboat proved one of the nicest surprises of CMW this year, swooning believers with their tight and focused shoegaze-tinged dream pop. Shadows of Echo and the Bunnymen and the Cure cover Fjord, but their emotionally viable tunes never approach retread territory. This is definitely a group worth keeping your downcast gaze upon. KH - Exclaim!

It sure sounds like a mix of the finest ingredients of ‘80s / ‘90s shoegaze and modern day production / instrumentation, but is it really? Saved The Compliments For Morning has been sitting comfortably in my car stereo and on my iTunes while I work in my office for a couple weeks now, and I can safely say that, yes, this is arguably the closest you’re going to get to a lush Swervedriver shoegaze trip (with a talented new take on the genre) in 2007.

And that’s a huge compliment. Bands these days can attempt such a goal as much as they want, but they hardly come close to making what Fjord Rowboat achieve in one minute on the likes of "Paragon." This song and "Can’t See the Sun" are some of the most explosive, pummeling pieces of reverb and distortion I have heard on record or live in quite a while. My first thought was that this band are a lot like Amusement Parks On Fire meets maybe Slowdive’s lyrical beauty. That’s even more of a compliment, cuz both those bands are masters in my CD corner, and Fjord Rowboat just may end up nestled right next to them.

My only problem, and it’s a small one, is the band name. Everything else is perfect – the lyrics are great, the music speaks for itself, the artwork is stoic, pretty, and just overall awesome – but I feel a bit ridiculous when I say the name to my friends. I feel like I am referencing some sort of Scandinavian kiddie ride from the ‘30s. But then again, your band name could be Anal Cunt and you could still rock the house down. In fact, Fjord Rowboat do just that. My minor complaint is completely overpowered by this truly awesome release. I look forward to seeing what these boys do in the future. - Transform Online

The first thing I noticed when I received Fjord Rowboat's album and press package was that they were local (Toronto). And it made me wonder if I had heard them before. As I started listening, there was something oddly familiar. Part of it was the band's ability to utilize the better pieces of their musical influences, among them Jesus and Mary Chain, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, and Mogwai, but there was something else. I looked on their website at their previous shows and finally figured out that I had seen them live. Unfortunately, I probably didn't think much of them at the time, which is a huge shame. But then again, this album is something special, something that probably couldn't be captured live.

Leave it to local super-producer Andy Magoffin (Hidden Cameras, Constantines) to help Fjord Rowboat create such a wonderfully textured and sonically exciting album with brilliant flow and tone. This is the type of local band every city wishes they had, a band that could potentially open for a touring band and blow them out of the water. However, I think the album itself speaks more than the band could ever do live; coupled with the sparse blue of the cover art, this disc has a late-night-mid-winter-heater's-not-working sound that evokes all the right kinds of feelings. They definitely know how to create mood with jangly guitars, sparse keys and pianos, and gentle basslines.

It's rare that I get an album for review that I willingly listen to more than twice before I write anything about it. With this one, I listened to it in a variety of different places - alone at night in the basement, in the car with my girl, on my iPod. I have to say, it sounded best in the dark. Fjord Rowboat's mid-tempo rockers and lead singer Craig Gloster's hushed shoegaze vocals just didn't feel right on a sunny day. Not that it's a bad thing. I wouldn't listen to the Flaming Lips on a cold winter day.

Fjord Rowboat have every right to get noticed and praised. This album is not one to look over. They also make me proud to be a Torontonian.


Bottom Line: Fantastic debut. Moody indie rock with great production, and high relistenability.

Notable Tracks: Can't See the Sun, Simply Stood, Through The Morning Light
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Daniel Field - Read Junk

There are few bands whose names are so appropriate to their music as Fjord Rowboat. Imagine yourself in a small rickety wooden rowing boat, on a fjord in the middle of its massive valley, beset by gloomy mountains, shady forest and chilling snow. That stillness is precisely where Fjord Rowboat start from, and proceed to disrupt it in the style of giants casting mountains into a lake, raging against the silence in a melodic and emotive way. It’s that kind of ‘big’ music that gives you a simulation of the truly sublime experience of pitting yourself against the biggest physical presence you can imagine.

It’s probably not an album for a summery day then, more a slightly misty, overcast day when you happen to find yourself in epic surroundings and are in need of reverb-soaked, thundering guitars to aid your railing against nature.

Metaphors and imagination aside, the music is swirly, distorted guitars layered over earnest drumming and bass lines, topped off with subdued but sweet vocals from Craig Gloster (who at times sounds a little like Kele from Bloc Party on ‘Carried Away’). When the band moves towards the more post rock end of things with ‘Spin Cycle’, they show they can pull off the loud-quiet alternation as well as the next band, but also demonstrate the kind of restraint that many bands fail to grasp, as they drift into convoluted 7 minute tracks. ‘Spin Cycle’ is actually the shortest track on the album, at only 2 minutes 50 seconds. ‘Paragon’ gets particularly rocky in a way that many shoegazer/post rock bands shy away from, as it showcases the band’s adeptness at combining elements of various genres to move shoegazing along.

While Saved the Compliments for Morning has been about 2 years in the making, it feels like it’s more of a taster of what’s to come. Damn, if this is what can be created before a label gets involved, the future is fjord-shaped. Expect to see them named among the line up for Latitude festival 2009. - Subba Cultcha

When fjord rowboat frontman Craig Gloster asked for more reverb in his monitor, an audience member responded by saying "Fuck reverb! (We want) more vocals!"

The ear-splitting volume of the Toronto shoegaze rocker's music threatened to overwhelm Gloster's lyrics several times through their set. While shoegaze is known for its sheer noise, one couldn't help but feel that Gloster's vocals deserved more volume given his undeniably charismatic stage presence.

While shoegaze may have derived its name from musician's tendency to stare at their feet while playing, Gloster's eyes didn't stray downward, instead remaining constantly in motion when he wasn't perched behind his keyboard. He even came down to the edge of the stage to beat his tambourine towards the end of the show and threw a couple CDs out to the audience.

Given the epic nature of some of their songs, the band kept the banter to an absolute minimum, opting to squeeze as many tunes as possible into their allotted time. They pulled out all the stops for the last two songs, playing them with incredible passion and energy.

fjord rowboat is definitely a work in progress. But as their NXNE showcase proved, they are progressing quite well. -

The spatial dronings of Canadian quintet Fjord Rowboat are a welcome combination of diverse influences from the recent past. In their debut full-length, Saved the Compliments for Morning, Rowboat gives a fresh face to the ambient-rock genre. Their reverb-laden guitars sparkle in atmospheric metastasis, although seldom with the glory of shoe-gazing heroes My Bloody Valentine (of which they admittedly aspire). Dreamy organ pulses compliment the six-stringers well, fleshing out the faux-psychedelic colorings, and creating layered canvases for singer Craig Gloster to confidently wail. Gloster's voice is reminiscent of Jimi Goodwin's (Doves) silky, detached delivery. Within his limited range, he manages to carefully emerge from a thicket of thunderous throbs and captivate; then pull back when it's just right, letting the 'verb-soaked guitars take the lead.
The comparison with My Bloody Valentine is never more present than in the fifth track, "Paragon." Residing in the middle of the album, Gloster's vocals eerily mirror Kevin Shields' as he slides in and out of the forefront. Walls of lush guitars leave plenty to discover upon further listens.
Fjord is more than a sum of its influences; by using a concrete song structure, they apply a shoegazing aesthetic in the familiar confines of an indie-rock song. Bearing their shoegazing tendencies in mind, I feel like I must issue a disclaimer: The fundamental difference between Fjord and their predecessors is an unwillingness to do the unexpected. Fjord seems uninterested in furthering the radical invention which typified the genre at its height. They are not the cutting edge mad-scientists of tone and production one might associate with my previous allusions; instead, they package a strong, vibrant sound into a collection of indie-rock tunes more along the lines of Doves or Interpol. And they do so impressively.
These northern neighbors of ours have been playing the Toronto scene since the band's inception in 2004 and have garnered a decent amount of respect for a reportedly amazing live show. They've yet to journey to the States, and as still, shockingly unsigned (not for long). For those yearning to bathe in dripping wet guitars, ethereal keyboards, and booming bass, give Fjord Rowboat a listen. Don't let this one sail away (I couldn't help myself). B+ | Glen Elkins - Playback St. Louis

Fjord Rowboat - Saved the Compliments for Morning (Independent)

From the thumping urgency of incendiary opener "Carried Away" to the slow-burning instrumental comedown of closer "Spin Cycle," Fjord Rowboat's debut full-length shines with reverb-laden guitars, melodic keyboard lines and haunting vocals. The band's powerful drummer Kevin MacKay drives songs like "Can't See the Sun" and "Taking the Pass" with solid-even danceable-beats, while bassist (and brother) Ian MacKay lays down dark, grooving bass lines. Vocalist Craig Gloster delivers dreamlike lyrics with just enough subdued hope to convince the listener that there is a certain beauty behind his gloomy and passionate lines. Guitarists Justin Grant and Matt Collum create expansive, twinkling atmospheres that give the album a consistent and cohesive feel, even though it was completed in chunks with six tracks recorded by Andy Maffogin. The result is nothing short of a Canadian shoegazer classic. Both catchy and introspective (and featuring killer artwork), Saved the Compliments for Morning is the best guitar-driven indie-rock album to come out of Toronto in recent memory. Don't expect these guys to remain independent for long.

Rating: 4.5/5
- The Varsity

Nope, you’re wrong. Fjord Rowboat aren’t from Denmark or Sweden or Norway. They’re from Toronto. While Ontario might be entirely Fjord-less, it’s definitely got a bunch of indie rock bands, and Fjord Rowboat is one of them. Saved The Compliments For The Morning is the first release from the five-piece, and it serves as an excellent flagship. Lead singer Craig Gloster has got thick, gluttoness vocals that create a perfect textural mish-mash with the layers of bright guitars, muted bass, and twirling, swirling feedback. Sitting somewhere in the sonic territory between Broken Social Scene and the Dears in contemporary comparison, Fjord Rowboat draws quite contentedly from ‘80s bands of yore like My Bloody Valentine and the Jesus and Mary Chain (they are, after all, self-proclaimed shoegazers). There’s nothing terribly innovative about Compliments, but it’s a pleasant listen, and as far as shoegaze goes, very accessible. That, and it’s awfully good mood music for those stormy, rainy days when you’re feeling existentialistic. JA - soul shine


Saved the Compliments for Morning 2007
Debaser/Fjord Rowboat limited split EP 2006
Paragon cd single 2005



Fjord Rowboat formed in 2004, making their debut at Toronto's legendary El Mocambo. During the ensuing years Fjord Rowboat has built a reputation for impressive live performances, creating a swirling and dynamic wall of sound overlaid with soaring guitar and vocal melodies. They have shared the stage with Handsome Furs, Red Sparrowes, Uncut, A Place to Bury Strangers, Enon, The Octopus Project and The Most Serene Republic.

Their first album, Saved the Compliments for Morning, was recorded in part at the band's own studio and final recordings were produced at House of Miracles under the direction of Andy Magoffin (Constantines, Hidden Cameras, By Divine Right). The album was released in February of 2007 and was very well received around the world.

In 2008 the band got to work the follow up, entering the studio in July 2008 to begin recording the next record. Laurence Curre (know for his work with Sloan, Holy F@*K, In Flight safety among others) will be behind the board to finish off the album in early 2009. And the band is gearing up for Summer album release and tour.