September 9, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 6  

Front Page >> Arts & Entertainment > CD Reviews

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

CD Reviews:


Parkas
Now This is Fighting
Endearing Records

You know the part of the concert where the lead singer holds out the mic to the audience, hoping enough people know the words to the song? Well, the Parkas' debut album is filled with enough hooks so the crowd sing-along won't be a problem. It's going to be amazing hearing an audience chant to "I got lost at the Eiffel Tower, I had to wander around for hours and hours" (on opening track "Bus Station Blues"), "Gone, gone, my money's all gone now" ("My Life of Crime") or the gospel-like chorus "Oh, boy, you've got to carry that weight/Oh, boy, you've got to carry that load" ("Every Light is Red"). Recorded by Andy Magoffin (who has recorded for The Constantines, among others) at his infamous House of Miracles right here in London, Now This is Fighting is an impressive first disc that mixes rock, country and blues, but it's the pop foundation that makes tracks like the boy-girl-harmony sweetened "Giants in my Field" irresistible to the ears. Fighting is at times breezy, at times punchy and at others quite soulful in its approach to insanely catchy retro rock. This exceptionally solid record makes good on all the accolades the Parkas have been accumulating in the past year and is sure to put the band's name on the recently growing list of buzz-worthy Canadian independent musicians.

- Brian Wong


Jeff Beck

Jeff
Sony

It makes sense that a guitarist with a career as long and varied as Jeff Beck's would create such a seamlessly eclectic album. Playing electric guitar like a child would play with a good toy, he searches for new ways to experience boundless fun and expression. Experimenting with bluesy rock, jazz-fusion and a heavy metal that borders upon nu-metal, Jeff can be seen as the culmination point of this stage of Beck's career. It's on his most recent disc he aptly merges his experimentation in jazz-fusion with the virtuosity of his heavy metal roots.

Jeff is made by a guitar lover, for guitar lovers. One such example is on "Pork-U-Pine": "Voice don't say it, guitar will play it" is strategically punched out by Saffron, before Beck wails into crazy, interesting guitar riffs, relentlessly coaxing, plucking and punishing notes from his axe. This single phrase is the theme for Beck's sublimely schizophrenic album that refuses to settle into a single genre.

- Jeremy Shaw


The Trews

House of Ill Fame
Bumstead Recordings

Ever since the new alternative echoed the dawn of the new millennium, there have been young guys and gals making music that sounds just a little different from the rock 'n' roll we used to know in decades past. Riding along this wave of young and talented alternative musicians, The Trews distinguish themselves with their undisguised pop rock and blues.

Listen to the radio for their first single "Every Inambition," an opening track that will whet your appetite. Follow it up with a taste of "Fleeting Trust" or a lick of "Black Halo" and your recipe for enjoyable listening is complete. House of Ill Fame is one of those rare CDs that's complete: every song on the album is an essential piece of the whole. The catchy riffs and sugary hooks are sure to catch even the most bitter critic.

- Jeff Zon

 

 

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