Two Harbors

Two dreams came true on one record for Two Harbors frontman Chris Pavlich, who’s as big an Anglophile rock fan as anyone you’ll ever meet. First, he recruited the graphic designer who created the cover art for some of his all-time favorite albums by Oasis, the Verve and Supergrass. Then, he lined up a date to master the record at Abbey Road Studios in London. Yep, that Abbey Road.

There was one small catch to both those big wish fulfillments, though. “We had to make the record first,” Pavlich deadpanned. A true cart-before-the-horse rock ’n’ roll tale, Pavlich and his three bandmates had yet to set foot in their producer/booster Ed Ackerson’s Flowers Studio in Minneapolis for the recording sessions. However, Pavlich believes that by setting their sights high on the artwork and audio mastering, they raised the bar on their own contributions to the record. That might sound like a bit of rock-cocky hogwash until you hear the resulting album, The Natural Order of Things.

An impressively cranked-up collection of guitar-driven rock anthems, Two Harbors’ third full-length [...] might rank as the best Oasis album since Be Here Now. And yes, I mean that entirely as a compliment. In the past, Two Harbors has shunned the obvious comparisons to the Gallagher brothers’ old band, but there’s no denying it here. “We play what we like to hear,” Pavlich said. “If people think it sounds like Oasis, I’m totally fine with that. They sold 30 million records, so we’ll have some of that.” Added guitarist Kris Johnson, “We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music. It just so happens that British rock is where we all four of us share the biggest connection.” [...]

Joining forces in 2007 as Colonial Vipers Attack (which sounds like a would-be metal band), the members of Two Harbors played in groups you might have seen in the Let It Be bins, including Faux Jean and Divorcee. The latter band’s demise was so ugly, it convinced Pavlich to go cold turkey and give up playing music. He took his quitting plans all the way to Twin/Town Guitars, where he found Johnson working behind the counter. “I told him I wanted to sell everything, and he basically told me, ‘I won’t let you,’ ” Pavlich said. “It was fate.” Added Johnson dryly, “It was kind of stupid, too.”

Seven years later, Pavlich seems to have done a 180-degree turnaround. Recalling his band’s opening set for Brit-rockers Temples last month at First Avenue, he said, “That was the most comfortable and confident I had ever been on stage there, and I think the new songs were a big reason why.” This album really has made the guy cocky. Perfect. [Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune]

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