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Are you afraid of comparisons to seminal garage rock bands?

While en route to a gig in Sault Ste. Marie, front-man Brohan Moore took time to speak by phone with The Gazette about his indie band The Danks, their experiences on the road, and their newly released album, Are You Afraid of The Danks?

Hailing from Charlottetown, Moore has a laidback and friendly personality. He began by apologizing for being so tired.

“Sorry,” he said. “It’s really early right now – it’s like, 12:30 (in the afternoon).”

Granted, his exhaustion seemed justified considering that the band has spent the past week playing shows in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Ontario.

The previous night had also been less than ideal.

“We had a horrible night in Thunder Bay,” Moore says. “All the hotels around were full, and we ended up staying next to this couple who were fighting all night – so we didn’t get very much sleep. It’s just something to laugh about now though.”

Moore is The Danks’ lead vocalist. His fellow members include Alec O’Hanley (guitar and keyboards), Andrew MacDonald (bass) and Phil MacIsaac (drums).

Reviewers often compare their sound to that of The Strokes, and, according to Moore, this is not entirely coincidental. He says, “They were definitely influential to us. I was in grade ten when (The Strokes’ first album) Is This It came out. I wanted to do what they were doing.”

Writing in Soundproof Magazine, reviewer David Ball calls their sound “edgy Britpop mixed with a not so subtle nod to the champions of NYC’s post-punk revival, The Strokes,” and describes the latest album as “unbelievably catchy power-pop.”

“Andrew McDonald’s chugging bass underscores simplistic arrangements,” Ball writes. “But the snaking melodies and aggressive guitars never bury Brohan Moore’s raspy vocals or his sleepy delivery. The album starts out like a house on fire and never lets up.”

The group is also often compared to fellow Charlottetown-based rockers, Two Hours Traffic. The two bands not only share similar musical styles, they also share two members. O’Hanley and MacDonald are involved with both bands simultaneously, which creates a close association between The Danks and Two Hours Traffic.

However, Moore hopes listeners will recognize that they do have their own unique sound. “I mean, there’s bound to be some similarities,” he says. “I guess we all have similar taste. We’re doing our own thing though. We have a distinct sound and we’re trying to be original.”

That said, Moore cites bands such as The Buzzcocks, The Unicorns, and The Ramones as being highly influential in discovering their personal sound. This gives the band a harder edge than their counterparts Two Hours Traffic.

The band released their first full-length album in June 2009. The title, Are You Afraid of The Danks?, is a direct reference to the popular television show from the early 1990s, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which the band members grew up watching.

As Moore describes, the witty album name came entirely by fluke and 1990s nostalgia. “Last year for Christmas, Liam Corcoran (of Two Hours Traffic) got me the DVD boxed set of Are You Afraid of the Dark? We were all joking about how we should name our album Are You Afraid of the Danks? – and it just kind of stuck.”

Moore says he writes the core of a number of their songs, while O’Hanley helps with the structure. Everyone else adds their own part. As for what inspires them to write, Moore says, “We aim to make good music in general. I guess our inspiration for this album was just to make an all around good record.”

That and The Midnight Society.

The Danks will be taking the stage at Coconut Grove on Oct. 23, along with Smothered in Hugs, Mardeen and Two Hours Traffic, as part of the Halifax Pop Explosion.

Erica Eades
Erica Eades
Erica was the Gazette's Copy Editor and Arts Editor for Volume 144. She was an Assistant Arts Editor for Volume 143.

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