ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Now This is Fighting
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
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
House of Ill Fame
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