“We came up with the title Youth Games, as the record is in many ways about us, reflecting on the end of our teenage years and where we are going from here,” explains lead singer and lyricist David Rancourt. “We wanted to capture a certain youthful energy.”
Mission accomplished here. A musical and lyrical exuberance flows through all its songs, a collection of ‘all killer, no filler’ material destined to make a real impact. This is the kind of album that can give pop music its good name back. “We didn’t want to write a self-indulgent and arty record,” David declares. “We wanted to write a pop record. We wanted to have big choruses that you could sing along to, and something that would really come across live.”
The Mission District sound has a definite trans-Atlantic feel. Rancourt cites the likes of ’80s Brit Pop bands as The Cure, Tears For Fears, and Talk Talk as sources of inspiration, alongside such contemporary American pop outfits as Metro Station, Jimmy Eat World, and The Get Up Kids. Those influences can be detected in the ringing guitar, swirling keyboard sounds, and full vocal harmonies, a perfect frame for David’s melodic and plaintive voice and accessible yet smart lyrics. There’s a pleasing collage of tempos and tones here, with standout pop gems “So Over You” and “Heartbreaker” rounding out the palette of colors that could tickle any eardrums pink.
The musical empathy between Rancourt and guitarists Travis Barfoot and Rob Rousseau isn’t surprising, given that the three founding members of The Mission District have been playing together over the past two years. With the recent additions of Antoine Rochette (bass) and Mike Hand (drums) they were soon playing local gigs, and attempting to carve out a stylistic niche in the convoluted and eclectic Montreal music scene. The Mission District have blown away crowds as the opening act for the likes of The Bravery, Simple Plan, Mobile, and Elbow, and now have a loyal base of fans in both Montreal and Toronto.
The album was recorded with producer Matt DeMatteo (Hawksley Workman, Big Wreck, Mobile) and released independently online in May 2008. Positive reviews from Perez Hilton, Cosmogirl Magazine, and a number of blogs furthered the excitement and support from a growing fan base. The group recently signed with Relentless Records/EMI to release a single in the UK and is currently working with Andy Green (Keane, The Feeling, Scouting For Girls).