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The best kept secret in music


EYE WEEKLY –Toronto-
August 2004


I/O Maple/Universal
The return of Vancouver's Limblifter comes four years after their last record, and the departure of drummer Kurt Dahle to The New Pornographers. I/O stands for "In/Out," which leader Ryan Dahle sings is a flow that includes drugs, alcohol, cash and ex-girlfriends. Those themes repeat throughout, giving caustic twists to even the shiniest tunes. The disc is restrained -- relying on Dahle's plaintive, shy-guy vocals -- but bursts with guitar-pop gems: opening track "Get Money" has angular riffs and disco beats; "Perfect Day to Disappear" and "Jumbo Jet Headache" are charged with motion and emotion. But I/O is a breakdown record, strongest perhaps in "Alarm Bells," where acoustic guitar and strings are the sound of Dahle's bittersweet resignation. LL - eye Communications, a division of Metroland Printing, Publishing & Distributing Ltd

Today on Can-Con spinoff corner, a terrific album from Limblifter.
This band features former Age Of Electric singer-songwriter Ryan Dahle, plus a member of the Odds on drums – though Limblifter has been making its quirky brand of rock’n’roll long enough to be far more than a side project. While lyrically as weird as ever, I/O boasts a newfound elegance and maturity that never dulls the band’s edge.
The contrasts are vivid, allowing room for beautiful tracks like Drug Induced and the string-quartet-powered Alarm Bells, along with solid, arena-ready rock.

Mike Ross – Edmonton Sun
September 19, 2004 - Sun Media

[Limblifter/Maple; 2004]

It has been four years since Ryan Dahle released new material with Limblifter; in that time, his band has undergone some major personnel changes. Most notably, his brother, drummer and co-founder Kurt Dahle, left in 2001 to join the star-studded Vancouver pop juggernaut New Pornographers.

The Dahle brothers also worked together in the 90s pop group Age of Electric, so the disintegration of their longtime partnership could have presaged a noticeable shift in quality and content. But while In/Out is an uneven Limblifter release, its strongest moments suggest that neither the extended recording absence nor Dahle's departure has impeded the band.

Which isn't to say that Kurt's absence is entirely inconspicuous. The album's most glaring flaw is Burento Follett's weaker, more anonymous drumming, which follows his predecessor's simple, effective pop style but lacks a necessary propulsive energy. Many of these songs were initially crafted around drum loops, and the technique shows-- Dahle opts for a mechanical, nondescript rhythm section to back his more interesting vocal melodies and arrangements.

Opener "Get Money" is the first of three forays into MOR rock radio fare, but it's redeemed by Dahle's knack for melody and compositional variation-- which is highlighted by an interesting post-punk section. "Perfect Day to Disappear" suffers from a blander, more repetitive approach, and "Fiercely Co-Dependent" adds little to the formula established by the previous tracks, coasting on a standard-issue circular guitar riff.

Though I/O is frontloaded with potential singles, Dahle's most interesting material appears in the album's latter half. "Drug Induced" layers a hazy guitar line over a Supertramp Wurlitzer foundation, veiling Dahle's bizarrely graphic lyrical imagery-- it's hard to imagine any context in which the line "I'm gonna stop whoring from endorphins to the orphans of abortion" wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb, but its concealment almost subliminally strengthens the track. "Alarm Bells" makes excellent use of understated string accompaniment, and the comparably gritty, garage-oriented "On the Moon" almost breaks though the sterility of the album's otherwise spotless production.

As a comeback from an extended hiatus, I/O re-establishes Limblifter as a skilled pop ensemble, but the band hasn't quite reclaimed the kind of energy and spontaneity that has defined their best work.

-David Moore, December 7th, 2004 - Pitchforkmedia, LLC

Limblifter – I/O

Limblifter front man Ryan dahle can probably do a lot of things, but one thing is for sure, he can sure crank out power pop at its finest. Emerging from the shadow of the underappreciated Age of Electric in the late nineties, Dahle’s Limblifter turned heads and made waves with a couple of albums only to vanish into a hiatus. Ryan reurns with a four-piece line-up and the most diverse album he has ever released, simply titled I/O. The album offers eleven stunning tracks that are melodically and rhythmically as strong as anything issued under the Limblifter moniker. In fact, you’ll relish any opportunity to be able to sing along with tracks like “Fiercely Co-dependent” and “Perfect day to Disappear” which have choruses that will grab your attention hook line and sinker.The proceedings shift gear mid-album, slowing to a cool, hallucinatory groove with “Drug Induced’s” haunting keyboard rhythm, hazy melody and brilliant guitar solo that you will definitely lose yourself in. The album picks up again with the track “Jumbo Jet Headache” – yet another song you’ll want to sing along with. Produced and mixed by Ryan Dahle and John MacLean, I/O is Limblifter’s third album and by far their most significant and eclectic musical statement to date. With the Canadian indie scene undergoing a renaissance of late, it’s good to see someone who’s been in the trenches for awhile emerging relatively unscathed, with plenty of fight left in him musically.

Allan Mamaril - Canadian entertainment network

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout

SIZZLING PLATTER OF THE WEEK: Limblifter I/O::Imagine the Psychedelic Furs meeting Duran Duran and the Human League and you’ll have a good idea why this is one of the best nostalgic pop romps your delicate shell-like ears will ever hear. Emotive vocals, superb musicianship, smart lyrics and spiffy arrangements all add up to make this an absolutely delightful listen.
- Metrotimes Inc.


I/O album - Sept 2004
Singles: "Jumbo Jet Headcahe" #48 Canadian Rcok radio. "Perfect day to Disappear" video/single July 2005 release.

Bellaclava album - Mar 2000
Singles: "Ariel vs Lotus" #11 Canadian rock radio/Muchmusic. "Wake up to the Sun" #11 Canadian Rock Radio/Muchmusic.

Limblifter album - Sept 1996
Singles: "Tinfoil" #11 Canadian Rock radio/Muchmusic. "Vicious" #11 Canadian Rock radio/Muchmuisc. "Screwed it Up" #11 Canadian Rock Radio.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Limblifter materialized inside an abandoned meat locker, amidst the hooker and drug infested Yaletown district of Vancouver. Having only played together a mere ten times, the band entered the studio and recorded their debut album over four days.

Limblifter first served as a vehicle for the surplus of material Ryan Dahle had written for his 'day job' band, Age of Electric. The songwriter/guitarist single-handedly penned the hits Remote Control, Ugly and Untitled, which elevated AOE to gold-selling status. With the release of the eponymous first album in 1996, Limblifter found themselves signed to Mercury Records in the United States. Their first show was to a packed house at the legendary CBGBs club in New York City, flying home a few days later to support Oasis at the Pacific Coliseum. By the end of the year, Limblifter would have two Juno nominations, a Casby award and three number eleven hits: Tinfoil, Vicious and Screwed it Up.

The next year Age of Electric would release their final and most successful record Make A Pest A Pet, on which Ryan wrote most of the material. AOE disbanded in 1998 just in time to receive a gold record and a Juno nomination for "Best New Group."

Two years of studio experimentation resulted in the epic and acclaimed Bellaclava. Released in 2000, the record stumbled commercially, selling only 15,000 copies, yet managed to produce two number eleven hits at radio with Ariel vs Lotus and Wake Up to the Sun.

The year 2001 marked the end of the partnership with brother and co-founder Kurt Dahle, who left to form Vancouver super-group The New Pornographers. "It's not a simple task finding a drummer even remotely as good as my brother, so I wrote songs to drum loops on my computer," says Dahle.

Excited by the new demos, musician friends soon coaxed Dahle back to the meat locker to spend hours playing "as loud and long as possible" through new material. This creative period provided the luxury of experimentation for Dahle, paralleling the formative days of Limblifter.

I/O is the realization of years of hard work, preparing the band for another era. Dahle's gloriously refined songwriting encompasses concise forms and ideas, yet retains the interwoven guitar layers and complex melodies that have made him a memorable, unique, and critically acclaimed voice in the Canadian music industry.

Filled with colourful and ingeniously personal lyrics, I/O opens with three strong rock radio singles. The first single, Get Money, is riddled with ironic social commentary, followed by the instant classic Perfect Day to Disappear and the comedy/tragedy of Fiercely Co-Dependent. Limblifter's music straddles an uncharted middle ground between innovative art-pop and rock-radio. From the Bonham-esque drumming of The Auctioneer, to the sweeping strings of Alarm Bells, and the 70's Supertramp-style Wurlitzer keyboard of Drug Induced, it is evident Dahle evoked colours from a diverse palette of styles and eras to form his ideas.

Joined by a league of Canadian musicians such as legendary drummer Pat Steward (Bryan Adams, the Odds), and rare vocal appearances by Matthew Good, Jordy Birch and Todd Kerns, I/O features the signature virtuosic guitar playing that has made Dahle an icon to guitarists nationwide. Mirroring Ryan’s abilities note for note with an uncanny chemistry is The David Paterson Plan (Spitfires). A human metronome, pounding heartbeat rhythms in time with the likes of Malcolm Young and Swiss made clocks.

Indie pop darling, Meegee Bradfield (Salteens, Sparrow), drives varying degrees of distorted electric bass, celestial cello and haunting double bass of gargantuan proportions in contrast to her tiny stature. Burento Follett (Salteens), delivers a cohesive punch live, gluing together the styles of original drummer Kurt Dahle and session performer Pat Steward with his own momentous verve, adding his presence to the record by performing all the percussion.

I/O was recorded at The Factory Studios in Vancouver. Dahle and his co-producer, John Maclean (Bellaclava) along with engineer Sheldon Zaharko (Billy Talent), decided to minimize the use of modern recording technologies and computers, favouring instead the warm, organic sound of 2" analog tape. "As a team we've produced and mixed quite a number of records and there is nothing that compares to the sound of real, unedited performances by a band standing in a room together."

The spirit and musicianship that is Limblifter is once again re-animated, allowing Dahle's incomparable voice to engage listeners to his poetically graphic lyrics and distinct guitar phrasing. Limblifter is a rapturous sonic experience in precision and a visual magnet of comradery and energy.