For their self-released album of the same name The Birds of Ontario shamelessly dial the clock back to the 1970s, and a worthwhile trip back in time it is too. Opening track ‘She’s Got Time‘ references the Rolling Stones, driven by a fat riff, and very Jaggeresque vocals, while the second track ‘Trick of Survival‘ has echoes of The Faces, and throughout the album nods to favourite sounds can be heard, including Mott the Hoople, T Rex and even early Status Quo.
However, the album is more than a pastiche of bands of this era–there is a clear character shining through the album, with big and memorable choruses, variations in tempo providing contrast, and with strong writing throughout.
Perhaps the best (more) contemporary reference point would be Supergrass–drawing on several decades of classic rock, but creating their own sound.
The Birds of Ontario are a collaboration of Joe Roncetti , originally from Toronto, but based in LA for nearly two decades and working with musicians including Bobby Womack and Glen Ballard, and Eric Grosvenor, the duo now based in Port Perry, Ontario. They have seven full-length albums under their belts, and their new album has the feel of an established line up, with well written and recorded original material.
While the up-tempo riff-driven songs catch the ear most at first, there is plenty to enjoy in the mid-tempo songs, notably ‘Distant Wave‘, with its more reflective feel, and distorted guitar, reminiscent of Tom Petty, and ‘Sail Apart‘, which has a dreamy vibe, enhanced by the addition of keys to an otherwise mainly guitar-driven sound.
Lyrical themes focus on the traditional, notably relationships, but with thoughtful well-crafted lines, “You’re like a dream that’s just out of touch”, from ‘Come to me‘, the song with greatest Americana leanings, featuring some tasteful pedal steel.
A great album for a road trip with the volume turned up to 10, or a rowdy house party!