Going too far is never far enough for Calgary indie rock act Flowshine

Like “interesting,” the word “ambitious” can sound like a backhanded compliment.

You know, “Oh, um, that’s ambitious of you.”

Subtext: You put a great deal of effort into … this?

But when it’s offered as an adjective for Gets Me Going, the new EP from Calgary quartet Flowshine, guitarist-vocalist Jeremiah Erhardt takes it the way it’s meant — as an openhanded one.

Like, high five!

“I’m glad you think it works,” he says. “That’s great.

“We want to be ambitious, I’m glad you called it that. We want to keep breaking new ground, personally, and as a project — just doing something new. And I think that’s been our goal for a long time, if it’s been done or it’s boring or even if we’re covering ourselves … just keep evolving.”

That they’ve done over the course of the eight years and three EPs they’ve been together — Erhardt with bassist Dallen Muise, and percussionists Jeff Oman and Calen Blondal.

Gets Me Going is a sprawling, rollicking, panoramic ride through the musical countryside in the worlds of ’80s pop, rock, funk, soul, disco, jazz, psych, prog, hip-hop and jam band, and at various points in the catchy, quirky journey reminds of such disparate acts as Blondie, the Shuffle Demons, Oingo Boingo, Floyd, the Stones and The Spoons.

It’s weird, with seemingly no actual boundaries and incredibly hard to pin down. But it works.

Erhardt gives as much credit to producer Eric Svilpis as he does the rest of his mates in Flowshine, explaining the relationship began with their 2015 six-songer Soak Me Like A Wave, and going from there to here has been a “fluid process.”

It’s also one where there’s never any sense that things are getting too ambitious in the studio or that they’re going too far, too far out there.

“He pushes us and we push ourselves,” he says. “He’s upping his game and we’re upping our game, and I think with musicians we often tell ourselves, ‘No, we’ve gone too far, maybe people won’t like that.’ And we’re trying to do our best to shut out that voice a little bit, push ourselves further.

“We’re the ones recording the music, making the records and a lot of it is our money on the table … No one is telling us, ‘No,’ which is liberating, right? But also we have to accept that and push ourselves, not be afraid to go too far.”

With the four tracks on Gets Me Going that also included expanding their numbers along with their sound. They invited into the studio a handful of players from the community to make things bigger and fuller, including Calgary blues king Mike Clark, Penguins On Broadway member Mike Lauchlan, Kate Melvina on keys, and Madisen Muise and Ado Nkemka who add some gorgeous vocals.

All in all, it’s a remarkable studio record — which, and here again, is meant as a compliment and not something with the subtext of: “It’s too produced and manufactured; there’s no way you could do that live.”

Actually, Erhardt is more than happy to acknowledge that, even if it wasn’t the intent. He admits that live Flowshine is a much different beast than recorded Flowshine. And they like it that way.

“That’s definitely something that we’ve accepted. We like that separation,” he says, noting some classic rock artists who never tried to specifically reproduce their albums live, such as the Beatles and Hendrix.

“It’s fun for us, too, because we actually change up the arrangements to really push the dynamics of doing it live as a four-piece or a five-piece or a three-piece. People who are going to shows to see a record recreated live, I don’t really like that. You want it to be something new, something fun, something exciting, something organic where there’s improvisational parts where you can push and you can pull …

“If we to try to recreate the record and play with backing tracks or something, and play the same songs the same way every single night, we would be bored of it so quick.”

Well, for the hometown release party for Gets Me Going, those two worlds might get a little bit closer. It takes place Friday, Feb. 16 at Mikey’s on 12th, which also happens to be one of the venue of the venerable and aforementioned Mr. Mike ClarkAnd the gig will also feature opening acts CKS Trio, which features fellow studio guest Kate Melvina, and, rounding things out, Ado Nkemka.

So. For this night will they get as ambitious onstage as they were in the studio?

“I can’t say about Mike, but we do have some guests with us. We will be playing as a five-piece band,” Erhardt says coyly, adding that a keys player will be thrown into the mix. “And we’ll see, we’ll see — we might have some surprise guests.”

Flowshine release their new album Gets Me Going with a show Friday, Feb. 16 at Mikey’s on 12th.