#571: Love Becomes Electric by Strange Advance
From 1974 to 1977 Drew Arnott and Darryl Kromm played in a Vancouver band called Stan. The band split up and the pair parted ways. But they reunited in the late ’70’s and in 1979 were playing gigs around Vancouver in a band named Remote Control. The bass player for Remote Control was Paul Iverson. The three met up in 1980 and formed a band named Metropolis. But they changed their name to Strange Advance when they learned another band in Germany had the name Metropolis. Strange Advance was formally launched in Vancouver in 1982. Arnott played keyboards, percussion and usually backing vocals. Kromm played guitar and was the lead vocalist. While touring with Bryan Adams, Kromm gave him a demo tape of the tunes he and Arnott were working on. Adams liked what he heard and passed it on to producer Bruce Fairbairn. Along with Iverson, Arnott and Kromm went to the recording studio and made an album titled Worlds Away. It was produced by Bruce Fairbairn, a producer of Loverboy, Bryan Adams and Prism albums. The sound of Strange Advance was a fusion of progressive rock and new wave. Their debut single from the album, “She Controls Me”, became a regional hit, but not in Vancouver. The single climbed to #3 in Ottawa and the Top 20 in Montreal, Regina and Halifax. The album won Strange Advance a Juno nomination for “Most Promising Group of The Year” in 1983.
Paul Iverson left Strange Advance after the first album. In February 1985 Arnott and Kromm went back to the studio and recorded a second album titled 2WO. Drew Arnott produced the album and personnel included rock guitarist Domenic Troiano, Streetheart bass player Kenneth “Spider” Sinnaeve, Status Quo guitar player Andy Bown, former Sly and the Family Stone drummer Andy Newmark, frequent touring guitar player with David Bowie – Earl Slick, longtime keyboard player with Anne Murray – Steve Sexton, Keith Scott – longtime collaborator and guitarist with Bryan Adams, among others. The debut single from 2WO was “We Run”. The single written by Drew Arnott was a Top 30 hit in Vancouver, but charted best in Ottawa where it climbed to #4. Drew Arnott provided the lead vocals on the song. Over the years “We Run” has become a Canadian New Wave synth-pop ’80’s classic. Another track, “Kiss In The Dark” became a club hit in the UK. The album earned Strange Advance a Juno Award nomination for Group of the Year.
Until 1985 Strange Advance had never performed in concert. With the hit “We Run”, the Arnott and Kromm assembled some session musicians to help them launch a tour to eastern Canada. A second single “The Second I Saw You” was a Top 30 hit in Canada on the nations’ Adult Contemporary chart.
Arnott and Kromm went to the recording studio a third time in 1988. The result was the album The Distance Between. Randy Bachman from Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who, was among the personnel on the recording. The debut single from the album was “Love Becomes Electric”.
“Love Becomes Electric” was written by Darryl Kromm. The song is about sexual fusion, a catalyst for “liquid cries, radio sighs.” For the lovers in this song, in their skin to skin orbit “night shines when our love becomes electric.” The ecstasy might not have been but for a chance encounter when “out of nowhere” they crossed paths. “Love Becomes Electric” climbed to #8 in Vancouver (BC) and #17 in Hamilton (ON). The video of “Love Becomes Electric” climbed into the Top Ten of the Much Music video chart.
Within a year after the album’s release Strange Advance was almost dormant. However, they did go back to the studio for further work. A collection of demos, past hits, and a few new tunes was released in 1995 titled Worlds Away & Back.
In 2019 Strange Advance reformed, crowdfunded, and began touring in July. So far they’ve played in Vancouver and in Sidney on Vancouver Island. A concert date at a rock festival north of Toronto was cancelled due to rainstorms that damaged the festival site.
August 21, 2019
Heather Drain, “Who Can Touch Us When We Run?: The Pain & Beauty of Strange Advance,” Diabolic, January 5, 2019.
Jamie Vernon, “Boom Go the ’80s,” bobsegarini.com.
“Strange Advance,” Strangeadvance.com.
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