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Dreadnoughts set sail with concept album

Sicamous native Marco Bieri talks about Foreign Skies, the band’s first release in 10 years
The Dreadnoughts, including Sicamous native Marco Bieri (bottom), have just released Foreign Skies, their first full-length album in a decade. File photo

Dreadnoughts fans know how absence makes the heart grow fonder.

On Nov. 10, the band dropped its first full-length release in a decade, Foreign Skies.

The album marks a number of firsts for the Dreadnoughts crew – lead vocalist Drew Sexsmith (vocals), Nicholas Smith (guitar), Andrew Hay (bass), Tegan Ceschi-Smith (violin), Kyle Taylor (acordian,vocals) and Sicamous-native Marco Bieri (drums). It’s their first independent release. It’s also their first concept album (with all new, original material) and, possibly, the first album of its kind in the folk-punk genre.

The release date of Foreign Skies was no coincidence. Each of its 12 songs tells a story related to the First World War, each from a different perspective, from soldier to civilian, suffragette to child.

“Each is meant to commemorate and honor those perspectives, because the people who lived through that period are some of the most inspiring, brave, terrifying and unforgettable figures in all of history,” writes the band.

Bieri said Foreign Skies represents the most effort the band has ever put into an album, culminating in a more polished, more mature Dreadnoughts’ album. While the band’s punk-rock ethos remains loud and clear on Foreign Skies, it is skillfully blended with other musical elements – celtic, roots, middle-eastern folk and more – giving each song a unique stamp to stomp along while respecting the lyrical subject matter.

“We were in the studio for three weeks on and off, whereas our first one was like a day…,” laughs Bieri. “We definitely put a lot more work into it… And the songs are quite a bit different. It’s kind of all over the map. It’s not really one genre. It could be four or five different bands.”

To get the new album made, the Dreadnoughts hit the road for a bit in earlier in the year, performing gigs at B.C. and Alberta venues they hadn’t played in six or seven years. Unexpectedly, the time away resulted in a series of sold-out shows.

With the release of Foreign Skies, the Dreadnoughts are back in action, having recently played sold out shows in Ottawa and Montreal. They’ll be in Vancouver on Nov. 24 to a gig at the Rickshaw Theatre.

“The Internet is amazing thing,” said Bieri. “We got more popular by not playing somehow… We were in Montreal Thursday with just a bit over 300 people, sold out, Ottawa, sold out and Quebec City, sold out a 200 person venue,” said Bieri. “So yeah if you don’t play that much, everybody comes to the show….”

Bieri says to stay tuned for a short documentary on the Dreadnoughts by Adam TW Smith, coming to Youtube this Friday. To learn more about the band and see their new video for Back Home and Bristol, visit