What's so good about Friday? Here i am at work, the place is stone dead except for the fat kid and his sister who keep running in every seven and a half seconds, and i'm chillin with the new David Gilmour CD. Exciting huh? It's damn good stuff, a little on the spacey side, but what do you expect really? I was never a huge Pink Floyd fan, i always felt they tried too hard to be purposely spaced-out. This sort of transcendental music is supposed to come easy. However, when Gilmour became involved Floyd could be damned awesome. When he took over they got that much better in my mind. listening to Sam Robert's Chemical City, a lot. This album is freaking amazing! There's my review! 5 stars, two thumbs up, 10 out of 10 and all that jazz. Also really cool to see Matt Mays (another awesome Canadian folk rocker) playing and singing backup on one of the tracks - man that would be one amazing concert, an Evening with the Sam roberts Band featuring Matt Mays and El torpedo! If only I were a concert promoter! track by track, here we go:
The Gate - Upbeat rocker of an intro track. Starts with a spacey little intro before the main riff kicks in. It's upbeat rock with a headboppin beat and awesome swagger. Love the little breakdown towards the end that wasn't in the single version ("The gate is gone now, you better run!"). 10/10
Bridge To Nowhere - A little more spacey, driven by a simple alternating accoustic riff and an organ. Again, pretty upbeat. It's got a pretty haunting melody. 8/10
With a Bullet - slower, but with a really nice rock riff! This one is really rythm driven, It goes from electric to quiet in a start-stop fashion, accompanied by an awesome drum beat. Then it builds into this larger than life arena rock song complete with shout out vocals and soem pounding beats! Amazing song. 10/10
Mind Flood - Epic 8 minute plus tune. Starts off pretty spacey, with one of these sweeping synth lines and a lone clean tone electric guitar. It kicks in, stays pretty sombre, then explodes with a distorted rock riff and some extensive soloing. It remains pretty spaced throughout. Damn good song. 8/10
Uprising Down Under - This is the one where Matt Mays makes his guest apearance. Great summertime ballad, Like some kind of "end of the night" campfire drinking song. It's pretty much all accoustic guitars and keys, very folky. It's a slow one. Might have been more at home at the end of the album, though it does make a good intermission in the middle. 9/10
Mystified, Heavy - The title pretty much describes the song. A bit of a psychadelic trip. Pretty folky accoustic riff and some great Hammond organ during the choruses. It doesn't jump out and immediately hook you like some of the other songs, it's got more of a meditative vibe, more Floyd-ish maybe. 8/10
An American Draft Doger in Thunder Bay - Dylan-esque storytelling sort of song. GREAT tune. This one has a pretty driving rythm and a more "rock" chorus that really pulls you in. "I'm an American, on the Canadian shield! And i'm puttin' down roots in your frozen fields!" 10/10
The Bootleg Saint - More swaggering folk rock. It's got that radio rock single vibe going on. It's got a "live jam" sort of feel that suits it well. It's really the closest to Sam's older material on the album, it's got a lot going on musically in the background. Another winner 8/10
The Resistance - Total "sing-along" vibe going on here. Some jangly accoustic guitars, heavy percussion and harmonic vocals. Another "Summer campfire" party song. It's got an almost Tom Petty-like vibe and some downright 50's rock sounding leads. "Those were the nights to remember! Now they're the nights to forget. We sang from May to September, and we danced while the cities slept!" Quite possibly my favorite song on the album. 10/10
A Stone Would Cry Out - Sam and a piano. Quiet ballad, pretty sombre stuff. A great way to bring the album down. It does have a vaguely Coldplay-ish vibe,but don't let that scare ya. 8/10 There ya have it.
Observations on the whole: There a freaking lot going on musically here. While Sam's older material has often been described as a mix between The Beatles and Dylan, this time the band adds a lot of psychadelia and some folk from a different direction. The whole thing has more of a "freeform jam" sort of feel, with a lot of layered instruments and such in pretty much every tune. The production is excellent, it fills each song with life without making them sound too maufactured - this could have been recorded live off the studio floor, and yet it sounds finely polished at the same time. It's by far one of the best albums i've heard in a long damn time. Could be album of the year yet (though the year is still young, and Pearl Jam is coming on May 2nd).
Also been listening to Jeff Martin's solo debut, Exile and the Kingdom. My thoughts on that one are a little more scattered. I'm definitely not dissapointed, but this definitely isn't the Tea Party. There are some similarities, guitar wise, to early Tea material, which would make sense, but there the similarities end. It's an experience at any rate. I'm not used to Martin's voice sounding positive or uplifitng. Lament is one of the most beautifully haunting rock songs i've ever heard. Back tomorrow with more madness, and my thoughts on Pearl Jam!
If you were marked with a bullet, i'd jump in front of it. I'd rather die for love, than die for the want of it.
"Where there's smoke... There's Steve, burning in hell because he ate a chicken burger on Good Friday!"