Canadian band, Arkells, is known for fun, playful tunes such as “Oh, the Boss is Coming”, “Leather Jacket” and more recently, hit-single “Private School”. Given that this last track is taken from the band’s brand new record, Morning Report, it is fair to say that the band hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to crafting relatable songs with youthful spirit.
The band’s fourth full length album, and much anticipated follow-up to Gold-certified High Noon (2014), Morning Report has many of the markings of an Arkells album, including how its alternative rock roots are intertwined with pop influences, while flirting with a wide range of other styles, from hip hop beats to gospel music. This can be seen, for instance, in single “Drake’s Dad”, which boasts a definite southern influence and features an elaborate orchestration, including organ and full choir, or again, in the beautiful piano driven “Passenger Seat”, with its perfectly introduced string accents.
That being said, some of the most appealing tracks on the album, are not necessarily the most experimental ones. Such is the case with the remarkable “And then Some”, which is a straightforward mid-tempo alt-rock love song, or the more upbeat, clap along, “A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)”, both of which feature another characteristic Arkells’ component, where each respective song is like a little slice of life, a self-contained tale, with familiar characters and appealing situations that remind us all of our own youthful shenanigans.
If there is only one thing that could perhaps be said against the album, is that it is a little uneven. Scattered amongst the twelve tracks that compose the record are these musical treasures, including the aforementioned, but in between these gems are quite a few far less memorable pieces. While not bad songs by any stretch, their familiarity and similarity makes them somewhat indistinguishable from one another. But fret not, the highs far outweigh the lows, and overall, Morning Report is as entertaining as it is enjoyable.
Morning Report is out August 5, 2016 and will be followed by an extensive series of shows that will take the band all around Canada, the US and Europe (see tour dates here).
Must-Listen Tracks: “My Heart’s Always Yours”, “A Little Rain (A Song for Pete)”, “Passenger Seat” and “And Then Some”.
3.75 out of 5 stars
Universal Music Canada
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