Canadian power poppers channel the right sounds but they lack the killer touch.
‘Steady’ is the thirteenth album from these Toronto based pop rockers who, while being “big in Canada,” don’t seem to translate particularly well on this side of the ocean. Reviews of previous albums and the current publicity material likens them to bands such as The Posies and Teenage Fanclub with elements of both lurking within the grooves here but, ultimately, the band are a combo in search of a memorable hook.
A four piece band with a penchant for the punchier end of the power pop spectrum, much of this album is characterised by chunky guitars and rattling percussion, the chords driving the songs and leaving the admittedly fine vocals and harmonies almost lost in the mix. When they do dial it back as on the acoustic thump of ‘Simply Leaving’, they come across as somewhat lumpen while ‘Close Encounters’ lumbers along despite its Beatles’ like harmonies as it strives and fails to conjure a dreamlike experience.
They’re on surer ground when they rev up with ‘Spend The Day’ a fine thrash of a song which has the brashness of early Todd Rundgren and Badfinger along with a zinger of a guitar solo. ‘Panic On Runnymeade’ bristles with menace and a darkly tinged psychedelic edge and ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’ finds them channelling The Beatles round about the time of Revolver. Best of all is the simple rush of ‘Dream It All Over Again’ which is a kind of back to basics song for them.