Toronto synth-pop band Diana is back with a much-anticipated new album, titled Familiar Touch, and it’s available for you to listen to starting today. You will remember Diana from its well-received debut, Perpetual Surrender, one of the most buzzed-about Canadian indie albums of 2013. For a record recorded in a two-week session by a still-developing band, the response was overwhelming.
"That the first single got the attention that it got was really sudden and surprising to us," said singer Carmen Elle. "At that point we’d never played a show or jammed or anything. We made a record in a really staggered way, where I only joined the band at the very end, and then we were suddenly getting emails from record labels who wanted to sign us. We put a song on the internet and people went f--king nuts, but that wasn't supposed to happen at all."
This time around, Elle, along with band members Kieran Adams and Joseph Shabason, took it slow and recorded the album in multiple stages, spanning a total of five months. “We were going for the layered sound of recordings from the '80s and '90s,” said Adams, via email. “Our approach isn't minimal but we tried to roll with a recording style maybe more suited to that.”
Fans listening to Familiar Touch will be struck by how much the band’s sound has developed between albums; original parts have been artfully woven together with a slew of new influences. "I think the band is still sonically recognizable as the band people heard on Perpetual Surrender," says Adams, "but — and I realize how cliche this is — it's a more mature version of that. Not only have we grown individually since 2013, but as a band as well. I would say we were barely a band then.”
Now though, the trio is completely gelled, and ready to step out and unleash a fully formed sound into the world. “We decided to express ourselves more earnestly,” says Adams, “in terms of lyrics, in terms of vocal production, and also by using more full, live takes of instruments as opposed to sequencing. So it's a blend of things that might have been there before but in different proportions. The haze is a little more in the background, so we're hiding behind much less.”