IF you do not know the Canadian quartet The Sadies, tonight is the perfect chance to discover their country-noir music in York at The Duchess.

It is not too late too catch up, even if there is plenty to catch up on. Since forming in 1998, The Sadies have released seven studio albums on American independent labels Bloodshot and YepRoc, plus an imaginary soundtrack album and a live double disc featuring guest spots from Steve Albini, Jon Spencer, Neko Case, The Band’s Garth Hudson and The Jayhawks’ Gary Louris.

On top of all that, they have backed The Mekons’ Jon Langford, Andre Williams, Neko Case and Jon Doe on full album projects.

Please Please You promoter Joe Coates is thrilled to have booked the Canadians for their return to York. “You’re in for a treat,” he promises. “The Sadies pick up where bands like The Byrds and The Band left off, incorporating elements of country, surf, Sixties pop, psychedelia and garage rock to make an ace noise which is unlike anyone else.

“This year’s Darker Circles album is the culmination of much hard graft, a stunning piece of country-noir that again raises the bar.”

Released in May, the album is testament to the band’s experience, according to drummer Mike Belitsky. “In the early days, we would have to rush things to hit a budget, but now we can try something and not feel it has to stick. Now it’s not like you fear you’re going to break the bank if someone wants to re-do something. You want to be able to feel that everyone has put their best stamp on it,” he says.

“Over the years, I feel that more with each recording. As a group, we definitely sense it’s all part of the process of getting a song together. Everybody throws their hat in the ring.

“I’ve been in other situations where you feel you can’t express yourself and that can be frustrating, though some people prefer to be told what to do!”

Dark Circles has benefited from the contribution of producer Gary Louris. “As you grow older and your life experiences change, your songs become an outlet for working out your emotions and for telling stories, and that’s become a really important part of our creative process,” says Mike.

“At first we were just a little hesitant about putting our voices out there, and a lot of people thought we were an instrumental band originally, but gradually we’ve become not so frightened to write songs that are personal or about issues.

“A lot of credit for that on this new album goes to Gary Louris, who put an emphasis not only on pulling out the best performance from us but on stressing the lyrical content.”

Mike believes that steady rise in the popularity of The Sadies will continue, not least in Britain. “There’s an appreciation and knowledge of our music over here that I would say almost surpasses the knowledge in America,” he says.

“It will go on growing, but whether it has a ceiling, who knows. That’s how we’ve been existing for 12 years, through word of mouth, rather than amassing hits on the Billboard charts.

“It’s funny, though, because not everyone has that view. Some people think of our career as a failure, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way as we’ve had a level of success that’s been fine for us, allowing is to be constantly creative, instead of making a living in a quick bang over five years. I kind of prefer the slow burn, playing music over 40 years!”

The Sadies play The Duchess, York, tonight at 9.15pm supported by Sam Forrest at 8.15pm and You Set The Scene DJs inbetween.