Reviews:: The Details Draw a Distance. Draw a Border.

The Details are on the cusp of something big. I don't mean blog big, which essentially is an oxy moron these days, I mean MuchMusic, Canadian radio big (which again, I'm not sure if that's even that big). I also don't mean tomorrow. They show lots of potential, but I still think they are one record away from making the jump. September 25th will mark the release of their debut record - Draw a Distance. Draw a Border - and it manages to toe the line between radio rock and good ole fashioned indie rock quite well.

The record opens with a Weakerthans inspired number (Always. Always. Always. Never), which admittedly is the style the band uses that I like the most, but quickly evolves into a drum heavy rocker. It's an inspired lead off hitter, and one that should keep almost any A.D.D. listener intrigued. Lead vocalist John Plett shows his ability to write a song with inspired lines like "the closest thing to God, is being next to you in this rusted car."

I'm not sold on the sequencing of this record, but that is probably just me. Reunion Souvenirs is a drastic change from the pace of the first song and the pulsing dance floor track is a bit of a head scratcher for me. Crunchy guitars, drums fills and some harmonies crank up the energy and on it's own this song would be fine, but after the nice feel I got from the opening track it almost feels too rushed for me, especially when it's followed up with the buzzing guitar work on Burns Much Brighter.

But I think the band understands tempo nicely, as about three quarters through Burns Much Brighter, they pull the reigns and slow the track with a nice melodic verse and outro that reminds me a lot of older Promise Ring break downs. It works well as the the song drifts seamlessly into Underground. This is the song where I think the band hits its stride. With John's vocal delivery again influenced by John K. Samson, the maraca and jangled guitar line grab you right away and the harmonies and xylophone sound stellar. The song unfolds new layer after new layer, but none of the sounds detract from the intimacy of the song. This is the type of song that you hear once, and find yourself humming along before it's done.

At times the band does get a little too mall emo (Plett's vocals do have that snotty edge to them at times - maybe a little Connor Oberst , especially on The Height of Land), but the arrangements and execution are what help them stand out from the crowd. On I Asked What We Should Do. You Said, "I Just Don't Want to Think.", the band uses a nice string arrangement and only the simplest guitar notes to create emotion, varying the pace ever so slightly with gentle ebbs and flows.

The band cranks up the energy again on A National Anthem, but this song feels more natural. The cymbal crashes are balanced by strings and falsettos. This is the type of song I envision the band grabbing attention with. It's melodic and builds into big choruses and it is a nice reminder of Jimmy Eat World work (before they became terrible). Capture and Delight adds another wrinkle to the mix. The song relies on a kick drum, bass line and strings that could fit nicely into a Matt Pond PA track and the percussion break down is addictive. The Height of Land uses the same elements, but adds a great jangly guitar line. The band does have the ability to surprise you, like the pedal steel guitar heavy Hit Parades, which throws in a nice choral backing and organ sounds to thicken up the mix.

For a debut record, I was very impressed by this Winnipeg based band. The gentle piano ballad - Floor Plans - shows a maturity in their sound and I think as they move forward and get more comfortable, the songs will be even tighter and more focused. Definitely a band to watch out for.
MP3:: Underground

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