The World Provider, superheroic alter ego of mild-mannered Montrealer Malcolm Fraser, has been providing the world with mind-sticking melodies, low-budget sonics and unabashed theatrical spectacle since 1999.
Musically, the project has been described in myriad ways: “Hallmark-card heavy metal, support- group bubblegum” (Montreal Mirror); “rather good jangly pop” (National Post); “danceable disco-y sunshiny summertime bare-feet-in-rollerskates kind of music” (Wavelength); “inspirational whistling, crooning, shrieking and spaz dancing” (Exclaim); “Devo meets AC/DC” (Olga Goreas, The Besnard Lakes), “Tiny Tim meets the Ramones” (WP's dad); “the Crispin Glover of the Montreal music scene” (Pop Montreal program), "what TWP does is so free of outside judgment, so punk-without-punk, assertively goofy and yet unpresuming of any other standards of cool, rock and yet anti-rock, with super riffs and melodies and yet no polish whatsoever" (Carl Wilson).
The WP got started from the same fertile Toronto musical community that spawned Feist, Peaches, Chilly Gonzales and Mocky. Back in the day, you might have caught the WP as a touring keyboardist for Feist or a backup singer/dancer/hypeman for Peaches. The WP self-released the debut The Elements of Style, produced by Peaches and Taylor Savvy, in 2000.
The following year, the WP moved to Montreal and shortly began recording with Jace Lasek at the Breakglass Studio. The album Enabler with came out on Ta-Da Records in 2004. The WP toured the album in Canada and internationally with such acts as Jamie Lidell, Stars and The Dears as well as old pals Peaches and Gonzales.
Originally a one-man band, the live act grew to include other members including longtime collaborators Stacey DeWolfe (drums and vocals) and Steve Raegele (guitar). The WP’s stage show also developed into a theatrical spectacular involving costume changes, dance routines and the occasional gigantic stage prop.
In 2008, the WP released the album Hard Feelings (2008), featuring the band’s biggest success “Valentine” (featuring Feist) and released on the band’s own Imperial Arts & Letters label. History of Pain, produced by The Dears’ Murray Lightburn, followed in 2011.
The World Provider's new EP, Always, produced by Lightburn and featuring the previously released singles "Pam Pam" (with Chilly Gonzales on piano) and "Autumn Wheels" (declared a "song you need to hear" by The Globe and Mail's Sean Michaels) as well as four new tracks, comes out May 27, 2016 on Montreal indie label Ting Dun.