For Royal Canoe and their latest songwriting endeavours, it’s all coming at you off-the-cuff. The band is set to release their latest collection of songs, Sidelining, on July 9th through Paper Bag Records and Birthday Cake Records, and from that album comes the summer-ready anthem “Feels Good.” The song has a real chilled vibe to it, moving at a satisfyingly relaxed pace that almost reminds you of a reggae tune. That relaxed and swift feel extends throughout Sidelining’s eleven tracks, an album written and recorded in a specific way to encourage creativity through spontaneity.

When the band began working on the record, there was one overarching rule: no previous song or lyrical ideas devised before setting foot in Private Ear Studios were allowed. Not even a demo from the week before was permitted. It all had to be new, unplanned, and instinctive, with each song built from the ground up and completed on the same day it was recorded. This took the band in a drastic new direction which constantly kept them on their feet, working hard, and in a mindset geared towards imagination. Ultimately, it created a situation where there was less second-guessing and more writing and recording than there would typically be.

Discussing the context within which the song was written, lead singer Matt Peters said, “We wrote ‘Feels Good’ during the middle of the summer last year, imagining what that first real hang with our friends will be like when things finally get back to normal.

You know.. one of those nights with stages, where you don’t really plan anything, but somehow you end up hopping around the city, bumping into people you know wherever you go, and you somehow maintain the perfect tipsiness the whole way through, and you can’t remember when Sara left the group but it’s cool because she texted MJ and said everyone should go to a party on Chestnut, so you go and get there at the same time the pizza arrives, and they offer you a slice and you eat it in the backyard while there’s a fire crackling, and some dude is singing a really bad Dave Matthews song that sounds good for some stupid reason, and everything makes sense just for a few seconds.

Anyway, things are still pretty crazy here in Manitoba, so we’re still just dreaming about that stuff, but if you’re out there where things are normal and you’re living the fully-vaxxed life, this song is about how you’re probably feeling.”

Royal Canoe has been riding a wave of success since the release of their 2019 record, Waver, which was followed by the RC3PO and Glacial EPs. Sidelining is an album born out of friendship, and the common bond that has strengthened between the members of the band over the last year. Coping through the pandemic together helped the guys realize that they were all feeling the same about life. It was as if they were all stuck on repeat and feeling the same types of stress. It was ultimately these uncertainties that motivated them to record an album on the fly, and not worry so much about whatever preconceived notions they had about making a record. In chasing something new, Royal Canoe has tapped into a whole new, enlivened version of themselves.

Sidelining Track Listing:

1. Sidelining
2. Butterfalls
3. Interlude
4. Surrender
5. Get It
6. Scratching Static (feat NNAMDÏ)
7. Remmin’
8. Summer Stay
9. Feels Good
10. HAL
11. Alexandria (feat. Begonia)

Artwork for ‘Sidelining’ by Royal Canoe