Alexander and The Great Ones are 2 Yung 2 b in <3 on their gorgeous retro-pop single and video — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The sophomore release from their all-you-can-hear sonic buffet EP Super Turbo, the track lovingly rebuilds Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, channeling the lush sonics, thumping backbeat and romantic swoon of classic girl-group pop — and then infusing and updating the whole affair with contemporary musical sensibilities and a dash of cheeky campiness.
“I explored the sounds of the last century not as they were, but as they are,” says the band’s frontman Alex MacNeil. “Think: Heart still pumping, but flecked with rust.”
You’ll find no rust on MacNeil — the singer-songwriter’s creative restlessness has taken him from one end of the glove to the other. Beginning in what MacNeil describes as Nova Scotia’s industrial northern mainland, he went on to complete music school in Quebec before venturing on to South Africa and then New York City.
Eventually returning to Canada, he moved into a small cottage at the base of Signal Hill in St. John’s and led a variety of R&B and jazz groups around the city. That cozy little cabin was just the ticket for a few years, but soon heartbreak and wanderlust set in and he decamped for Dawson City with no more than a plywood guitar, a tent, and a leather jacket.
“My most restful state was a bit shattered, so I went careening westward,” he shares. “I was mourning a few losses, including my early academic musical prospects. I started bartending in a local hotel and I’d hammer away on the old piano that sat against its saloon walls. So I started to do something I hadn’t done since high school… I started putting words to music.”
Within a few weeks, MacNeil was playing gigs and sharing new music. Meanwhile, he had been corresponding with noted producer Dale Murray (The Guthries, Hayden, Matt Mays). “I sent Dale a slew of demo tapes made on that old saloon piano. They were all done on my iPhone. He encouraged me to keep writing and discussed the possibility of making a record together.”
That record would come to be Super Turbo, a coy and confessional concoction that lands as self-aware before toe-dipping into indulgent realm of camp. “I love theatrics and film and literature,” he muses. “They have a massive influence on my style.”