For all intents and purposes, The Cordial Sins could originate and exist in Canada.
Per the Great White North Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “back-stabbing” of current American petulance, he described his countrymen as “polite and reasonable,” but they wouldn’t be “pushed around.” The band’s name is indicative of couple Corey Dickerson and Liz Fisher’s approach to their beatific yet slightly sinister pop songs. It’s sincere, happy, and strictly from the heart, but like the Canadian people, liable to bite, if provoked.
“Sick of the Hype,” a freshly polished new track from the quintet—which also includes John Allen on bass, Kyle Edwards on guitar, and drummer Mike Ortiz—shows significant fangs. It’s the first since the release of their debut, Only Now, last year, and though the group has had an unmistakable professional drive since their humble beginnings in 2015, Fisher’s lyrics exclaim an anxious call to arms. Ergo, success for the Sins will arrive on their own terms. •
Perhaps it’s a stretch to involve politics in the story of a hard-working indie band? And the Cordial Sins, despite the metaphor, aren’t from Canada, they are Columbus (by way of Delaware), born-and-bred. But when Fisher exclaims that she’s going to “stick to the lines that I know, because they’re good enough,” there’s a certain urgency that, though tethered to the expectations of the industry and audiences at large, is more than necessary in these tumultuous times.
“When we are trying grow the band, figure out your direction, especially when you don’t have a label, it kind of feels like you are overlooked in favor of bands who are predominantly male, so trying to find a way to be a woman in rock presents a lot of challenges,” says Fisher in response to what she’s specifically “sick” of. “There’s a certain intrigue to it, and slowly people are catching up, but at the same time you are always fighting against certain norms. We have to really search to find other women to work with and more diversity.”
To Fisher, a classically trained violinist, who is a career musician often freelancing when not writing and performing with Dickerson and the Sins, navigating the industry can be overwhelming. Spending the last two years vying for plays on streaming sites and playing celebrated shows with like-minded Columbus dreamers from Souther to the Worn Flints, trying to make a name for themselves has become a hamster wheel of sorts, enough so that the couple have taken great strides to up their game, hiring outside management and publicity to make their new sounds more widely known.
Fittingly, “Sick of the Hype” and the latest batch of songs the band has been fine tuning at Relay Recordings’ downtown studio, offers a new direction, one that increases the gloss, and is built for a wider arena away from Columbus. Beyond their penchant for guitar-driven rock reminiscent of ’90s radio, the Cordial Sins now dabble more into the nuances of shoegaze, with gauzy waves of atmosphere and the occasional synth. While a recent press release likened the move to Riot Grrrl punk, that era’s snarl only reveals itself in spirit not sound. The music is more likely to elicit a smiling bliss rather than abrasive scrapes.
As far as taking it to the next level, Fisher and Dickerson had the opportunity to move their musical wagon onto greener pastures of the industry in the west when Fisher was accepted into a program at UCLA, but opted against it in favor of deepening their roots in Columbus. That translates to putting in significant leg work locally to achieve the level of “hype” they feel should be afforded to them. That means buying a van, touring more than just a few weeks out of the year, and promoting each single of their evolution with the same full-tilt blitz as a new album. And this month, the Sins will be playing their most prestigious show yet with a set this month at the inaugural Bellwether Music Festival in Waynesville, Ohio, alongside the Flaming Lips and MGMT.
“Now it’s just a matter of doing everything we can to thrive here, and I feel like we are starting to see a return for the hard work. I love the fact that Columbus is yet to be that big music city that everyone wants. I do think it puts us at a disadvantage because of the lack of ‘networking,’” Fisher says, hoisting the requisite air quotes), “but, you know, we’ve got a house, we’ve got dogs and cats. It’s nice to be a part of that community and be a part of that growth.”
Indeed, and with that quote the Canadian comparisons stick again. In the politest way possible, the Cordial Sins have put out a warning. Take heed.
The Cordial Sins play the inaugural Bellwether Music Festival on Saturday August 11. Visit thecordialsins.com for music and more information.