At age fourteen, Faber’s dad bought him a drum kit which Faber promised to practice on every day. “Coming from a family of seven kids, this was a huge deal,” he remembers, “seeing as how my dad could barely even afford to feed us.” Faber may not have kept his promise, but that’s because he put down the drum sticks to become frontman and founding member of Faber Drive, one of Canada’s hottest young bands. After beating out more than 500 other artists from across Canada to take first place in a radio competition, Faber Drive started opening for notable acts such as Nickelback, Simple Plan and Hedley. With the release of their pop-punk infused debut album Seven Second Surgery, Faber Drive hit 1 on Much Music, saw 3 top 10 radio singles and was nominated for the Juno award for Best New Artist in 2008.
However, the Faber Drive that appears on its sophomore album can'T keEp A SecrEt is a band that has progressed beyond the Juno nominees of 2008. Where Seven Second Surgery laid the ground work for the Vancouver-based band’s career, can'T keEp A SecrEt now builds and evolves, deftly bringing bright colors, edgy tones, and more emotion into the fold and crossing the borders between Faber Drive’s punk rock roots into electro-pop mixed with epic balladry.
“We wanted to take a risk with can’T keEp A SecrEt and move forward without forgetting our original sound or our dedicated fans,” explains bassist Krikit. “We wanted to write songs that would stand the test of time, and we wanted to have more control and coproduce with several different producers.” To that end, can'T keEp A SecrEt is a who’s who of the Vancouver music biz A-game, including Dave Genn (Matthew Good/Hedley/Marianas Trench), Dave “Rave” Ogilvie (Marilyn Manson/Nine Inch Nails), Brian Howes (Daughtry/Hinder/Hedley) and the insurgent likes of Josh Ramsay (Marianas Trench), Colin “Crocker” Friesen, and Jeff Johnson.
Faber comments, “We don’t have a lot of ego. There’s a lot more that you and I can accomplish together than I can do alone. If you look at all the greats, its all about working together; Lennon and McCartney, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Bono and the Edge.”
Still Faber Drive is guilty of undue modesty. can'T keEp A SecrEt is bonded by the coherent force of a band ambitious enough to challenge itself and possessing the confidence and poise to actually pull it off. The first single “G-Get Up and Dance” was written and produced by the band in Faber’s barn, with Rave brought in as a coproducer and mixer in the final stages, helping launch the song to a platinum-selling iTunes grand slam in only 2 months.
On the opposite pole, album closer “By Your Side” is both beautiful and melancholy, beneath a vocal performance from Faber that hits you like a punch in the gut. “It’s a little hard for me to listen to sometimes,” reveals the singer, who penned the song late one night while thinking about his father, who passed in 1995 of stomach and lung cancer. “It’s basically about how someone important in your life will always be a part of you, even once they’ve left this world.” Producer Dave Genn heard the demo and immediately fell in love, while also manning the boards for two somewhat more rambunctious numbers:
“Never Coming Down,” barreling into view on a thumping backbeat and keening U2 guitars, with a chorus of amped-up whoa-ohs. “When you’re young, you don’t really have a place to go,” Krikit comments on the lyrical content, “You get your license and you end up driving around all the time. That’s your freedom and that’s your place to go.”
And “Our Last Goodbye,” the perfect pop punk throwdown, which cites the influence of old favorites like touring partners MxPx, and Green Day -- who also happen to turn up in album opener “The Payoff,” referenced alongside Oprah, Queen, and Rick James. Faber is quick to admit that FD gets a little “goofy behind closed doors,” and “The Payoff” somehow walks the line between tongue-in-cheek and triumph, celebrating the band’s success with an irresistible sing along pop-rock anthem.
Faber was also in a nostalgic mood when he hacked out the song “Forever,” composing the number as he pulled the graveyard shift on a cross Canada tour with Simple Plan. When band decided to record two songs with Josh Ramsay, the resident Marianas Trench songwriter they chose “Forever,” and the second single from can’T keEp A SecrEt, “Give Him Up.” “Give Him Up” is doused in super-fat bass synths and galloping percussion and takes some lyrical direction from American Hi-Fi’s “Flavor of the Week.”
“Usually what happens is you’re writing a song and it reminds you of another song, so you draw on that for inspiration,” Faber admits. Likewise, the Jeff Johnson-helmed “I’ll Be There” derives its message from Bill Withers’ classic “Lean On Me.” “We wanted to write something that was both hopeful and powerful,” states Faber, whose facility for emotional vocal performance also carries the exalted and sweeping Brian Howes love song “Lucky Ones” and the Johnson power ballad collaboration, “You and I Tonight.”
Faber comments that, “the first verse lyrics of ‘You and I Tonight’ are some of my favorites on the album; ‘Tonight a candle lights the room/Tonight its only me and you/Your skin like gravity is pulling every part of me’—those lyrics are extremely intimate and very visual, much like the opening lines of Tongue Tied.”
can'T keEp A SecrEt spans several genres of contemporary music, some familiar for Faber Drive, and others in uncharted territory, such as the band’s ridiculously enjoyable and slicked-up, cover of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed,” and a shimmering Jessie Farrell duet bonus track. All and all it’s an album full of incidental pleasures, like the spasmodic platter of electronic effects and honey-dripping harmonies that gild the entire record, or new guitarist Jordan Pritchett’s searing, hit-the-floor guitar solo on “Lucky Ones.”
Pritchett, the young and extraordinarily talented son of Canadian country star Aaron Pritchett, joins powerhouse drummer Andrew Stricko, formerly of Hello Operator (who opened for FD on their sold-out cross-Canada “Seven Second Surgery Tour”) as the newest members of Faber Drive. That any of the ten tracks on can'T keEp A SecrEt would make worthy successors to iTunes gold favourites like “Tongue Tied” and “When I’m With You” goes without saying – as Krikit maintains, everything is a progression.
“The first time you hear your song on the radio, that’s a rush,” he says. “And then the first time you see your face on TV, that’s a rush, then your first big sold-out tour, everything just builds and builds and who knows where its gonna take us, but for now we definitely know we couldn’t have come this far without the support of our fans, friends and family.”
And it’s definitely not a secret that there’s still a lot more in store for Faber Drive. So what is the big secret that they can’t keep? Pick up their sophomore album can’T keEp A SecrEt on November 10th to find out!