Hollerado impresses with White Paint

The up-and-coming Canadian band hits the mark with their second studio album

The band's promotion photo.
The band's promotion photo.
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It’s not surprising that Canadian band Hollerado has risen to fame over the last few years.

The indie-rock group’s second album, White Paint, was released in early 2013. They formed in 2007. A couple of years later, they won a battle of the bands competition hosted by an Ottawa radio station and received a huge cash prize that helped them start touring and covered their equipment expenses.

Having just discovered the band after hearing mostly good things about them, I was excited to see what White Paint had in store.

It’s safe to say that the album isn’t disappointing.

The band has a distinct, pop-punk sound that the album encapsulates well. Even though that’s their main sound, they aren’t afraid to take musical risks. I heard this in the explosive opening track “Wonder, Velocity, Charlie and Me,” where the band starts off the record with a mellow but increasingly intense sound, both lyrically and musically. It definitely isn’t as “punk” as some of the other songs on the album, but it sets the tone for the rest of the album and does a good job of showing the band’s diversity.

Hollerado consists of four members: lead singer and guitarist Menno Versteeg, bassist Dean Baxter, lead guitarist Nixon Boyd and drummer Jake Boyd. Originating from Ontario, the band began recording in Montreal where they gained recognition as one of the city’s up-and-coming bands.

The band’s road to success started off shortly after they formed and were able to tour. They’ve opened for The Stills and Billy Talent, among other impressive bands, and have toured in China. In 2011, Hollerado was nominated for the “Best New Group” award at the Juno Awards.

The next track on the record, “Don’t Think,” gives the punk sound that I think the band strives for in the whole album. Even though the song is erratic at points, the guitar and drum solos match perfectly with Versteeg’s vocals to emphasize the band’s rock sound.

My favourite track on the album, “Lonesome George” kills two birds with one stone. It displays Hollerado’s ability to stray from their core sound and still do well, and also proves that the band’s strength lies within their consistently impressive lyrics. The fact that the relaxed tune was written about a magnificent old tortoise that died last June doesn’t hurt either.

You can tell that the band has grown enormously when you compare their latest album to the 2009 album, Record In A Bag.

That album is consistent, but has a pop sound that has infinitely lessened in their new album to make way for a fresher punk/rock tone. White Paint is polished and shows the use of impeccable song-writing, producing innovative and thought-provoking lyrics.

The whole album has a distinctive, cool tone to it that’s reminiscent of The Clash and their singular work. Other notable songs on the album like “So It Goes” and “I Want My Medicine” reflect this, as they both have an old-school feel to them.

To me, it makes sense that the band gained recognition so quickly. White Paint is filled with both punk-rock and mellow tunes that make it easy to understand why Hollerado is one of Canada’s most unique bands to date.

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