Rock & Roll Report Card

Eight and a Half
Eight and a Half

B+

Eight and a Half is a new addition to the Canadian alternative scene, composed of musicians from the familiar and disbanded rock bands Broken Social Scene and The Stills. However, it would be a mistake to place Eight and a Half’s self-titled debut alongside its members’ previous efforts; instead, the album represents a marked stylistic departure.

It initially consists of brooding ambient synths and programmed drum samples, bur the album isn’t all doom and gloom. It rewards repeat listenings and has its lighter moments. Eight and a Half has shown more than enough here to warrant a listen.

— Clark Armstrong

Elliott Brood
Days into Years

C+

If you crave the feeling of returning from a long journey, you’ll love this album. Similar to greeting an old friend, this album plays to the band’s strengths of folksy-punk blends.

There’s growth evident in this album – that much is certain. This album is worth a listen, but it leaves you wanting more, like a return to the days of “Oh, Alberta”. Songs like “Lindsay” display a perfect lyrical craftsmanship, however the high notes don’t match the shortcomings. The backstory to the album — an homage to the band’s visit to the WWI burial sites — although enticing, results in an ending that feels forced.

— Labiba Haque

Hollerado
Margaritaville 2: The Reckoning

B

“Please don’t listen to Hollerado/ ’Cause if you listen to Hollerado/ Somebody else might hear it” — those are the opening words to the unique form of self-promotion that Hollerado brings in their album Margaritaville 2: The Reckoning.

The tongue-in-cheek advice is typical of the Ottawa group, who clearly doesn’t have a problem taking themselves too seriously.

When they’re on, with shout-back choruses and nifty guitar work, Hollerado are reminiscent of Tokyo Police Club’s frenzied energy. This is dance-like- nobody’s-watching rock — just don’t tell anyone else about it.

— Clark Armstrong

Rich Aucoin
We're All Dying to Live

B+

Rather than featuring the typical 12-odd songs of most pop-rock albums, Aucoin’s has 22, separated into distinct song trios. There’s a prelude to set up the main track and a postlude to carry you out of it and blend into the next set of songs.

The whole album is a sing-along dance party and is overflowing with exuberance. With crowd call refrains and clapping rhythms, it’ll rope you in and make you feel like you’re part of the armada who made it.

— Andrew Stokes

Yukon Blonde
Tiger Talk

A-

In a sea of indie-rock music where many boast a charming ode to the past, this quartet from Kelowna, B.C. manages to accomplish that and stick to their roots. The progression from their 70’s style into a fast-paced, shoes-off dancing-in-your-living-room rock appears seamless in this album.

The electrically attention-grabbing tunes like “Stairway” and perfectly lovesick jangle pop “My Girl” are treats for your ears.

The freeing tempos and harmonies are refreshing, especially on a scorching summer day, and are sweeter than a glass of freshly made iced tea. The band’s album is evidence to their success and is a gem waiting to be rediscovered over and over again.

— Labiba Haque

Zeus
Busting Visions

B

Reach into the grab bag of Zeus’s Busting Visions, and you’re bound to get something different each time. With band members taking turns writing each track and cycling through instruments, each song has a dynamic that’s different than the one before.

The track “Messenger’s Way” has the upbeat tone of Paul McCartney, while “Let it Go, Don’t Let it Go” has a harlequin piano melody that sounds regretful and dejected.

When you close your eyes and delve into the album not knowing what you’ll get, sometimes you get a bouncy dance song, and sometimes it’s a bittersweet love song. If you don’t like a song, just wait a few minutes — the next one will have you on your feet.

— Andrew Stokes

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