Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Reviews:: Saint John 3 - The Revenge

Oh Saint John, sometimes I feel bad for you. It's not enough that half the country mixes you up with St. John's, Newfoundland, but you're also competing for attention with Moncton and Fredericton in your own province, and, like everyone else on the east coast, you have to deal with those limelight hogs in Halifax for your slice of Maritime shine. Add to that the fact that two of your notable qualities are your copious amounts of fog and stink, the Saint John music scene has to be considered an underdog as far as making its mark on the National level is concerned.

Well that's where we come in. Or rather, where our Great Canadian mixtape project comes in. Saint John happens to be my father's hometown, I spent plenty of time there as a kid, and we still have family there, so when we were putting together our selections for our New Brunswick mix, I was hoping we'd find some solid entries from the Port City. Luckily for us, Chuck Teed got in touch to put us on to Saint John 3 - The Revenge, a compilation put together by his label BBQ Records.

Obviously, this made our job easier, and we enjoy the easy (if there was one of those Staples easy buttons for these mixtapes, the Ack and I would be smacking that bad boy like we were on Press Your Luck), but it also introduced us to some great songs. That's win-win right there. As a collection, I think SJ3's strength is in it's variety, and not just the variety of styles, which is certainly there, but also in the actual recording of the songs. Some almost have a studio polish to them, whereas others have a real DIY grit to them, and the combination gives one the impression you're getting a pretty full picture of the Saint John scene.

The album gets off to a rousing start with the classic indie guitar rock of Hospital Grade's Calling All Constellations, which is followed by the almost radio-friendly vibe of Mr. Distant's My Head. Adam Mowery's Never Born At All sounds like it was recorded live during a basement jam session, but it has kind of an old school innocence to it that I like. Manoli Koumbias of Manoli & The Sacred Hearts displays a surprising, soulful edge to his vocals on Hit The Bottom, and it's one of the album's highlights for sure. Edge On Spiral's Love And Gravity is also a highlight, perhaps my favorite song on the album. It's a pretty simple uptempo folk song constructed of guitar, drums, and Chris Fudge's vocals, but it's beautiful in its simplicity.

Saint John's variety is on display on the second half of the album, with Barracuda Sunrise breaking out the dirty southern rock on Get Cookin'. The Carousels showcase their soaring, Brit-sounding rock on Miles Past The Ghost, and Kitty Smack do their electro 80's thing on Hey, a song I can't decide if I love or hate. I know which side of the fence I'm on where the compilations one hip hop song, Curbside Prawjek's Crazy Mr. Shit4brains, is concerned but I'll digress and let you figure it out for yourself if you care. But hey, at least there is a hip hop song on here, which is more than we can say for our NB mix, so who am I to talk.

It goes without saying that if you're from New Brunswick and are into music at all, I would recommend checking out Saint John 3 - The Revenge, but certainly the appeal isn't limited to NB folks. I'd recommend everyone have a listen to the tracks below, and if you like what you hear get in touch with Chuck. It's a great time for music in Canada, and records like this only reinforce that fact.

Posted at 9:17 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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