Alexisonfire rose up out of the Southern Ontario underground in late 2001 like some monstrous and utterly captivating car-accident-in-progress. Hitting the ground with an immediate full head of steam, Dallas, Wade, George, Jesse and Chris have not only impressed the critics with their sour/sweet approach to performance and writing, but are recognized for their stellar musicianship, and the palpably pent-up tightness of the band live.
This is music for both sides of your brain. In your left ear, the poignant and melodic vocals of Dallas, injected with the devilishly sweet phrasings of the axe-wielding Wade, speak of impulse and introspection. In your right ear, George offers the testimony of the tortured soul, syncopated power-scream vocals that energize and counterpoint -- a couple of cartoon-character angels and devils sitting on your shoulders, offering two very different interpretations of the same musical message.
Alexisonfire knows that the fans aren’t stupid. The fans know the real deal when they see it, and in the case of AOF, they seem to have told two friends, who told two friends, and so on. During the year that followed the release of their self-titled 2002 debut album, the band has shot into the mainstream media like a streaker at an All-Star game: 3 videos reach the top 5 on MuchMusic (the first “hardcore” artist to ever chart at #1), a US deal with Equal Vision (cred-worthy home of Coheed & Cambria), a sponsorship with blink-182’s clothing startup Atticus, an MMVA nomination for the “Pulmonary Archery” video, a Best Video Award for “Pulmonary Archery” at The Indies (Canadian Independent Music Awards) , and everlasting status as the posterboys for hardcore crossover appeal. This may all sound like SOP for an up-and-coming rock ensemble, but wait a minute -- this is HARDCORE music, often described by members of the band as “the sound of two Catholic high school girls in mid-knife-fight.” This hasn’t happened before.
Nobody is more aware of this fact than the boys in Alexisonfire. Taking it all in stride, they remain guileless, affable, and capable of equal amounts of sarcasm and self-deprecation. They rock the MuchOnDemand studios like it’s a sweaty all-ages venue in St. Catherines, which in turn is rocked like they did when AOF germinated in the basements and rec-rooms of their now-proud but baffled parents not so long ago. Their songs scream of intellectual fury basted with ladlefuls of vocal pop melody; it’s a bipolar magnet, and if you stop and listen, or God forbid, see a live show, it’ll all oddly start to make sense.