Monday, November 17, 2008

Reviews:: Provincial Parks Iron Ponies EP

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There's something about feeling like a band is destined to be more than just another local act. Instead of just another band that seems to fill out the lineup for every show you go to, every so often you stumble upon a n artist that seems to represent everything that makes your neighborhood's heart beat.

Whether it's a cover band that keeps the bar rocking till 3AM on a Tuesday night or the band you and all of your friends tell everyone is the "next big thing", it's usually music that creates that kinship, and the sense of community that exudes from the new EP from Toronto's Provincial Parks so enjoyable.

Truth be told, I had never heard of Provincial Parks (or Howl as they were once known) before the EP arrived in my inbox and was a bit concernicus when I read a few passing reviews of their sound. Radio rock is not really something I gravitate towards, especially with a band is still in the early stages of a career. When a band starts out writing music for the masses, the result is usually catastrophic. Drama and a misguided sense of importance replace melody and creativity, and the end result become generic tripe.

Provincal Parks on the other hand put together a tribute to their own little corner of the world and the end result is a quick hitting EP that could be embraced by a much bigger audience. From the sounds of the Ossington Subway station that help transition the pulsing backbeat of Scenes & Faces to the acoustic melody of Island or the ice cream truck that keeps you daydreaming about summer even now as the last remaing leaves flutter in defiance, Iron Ponies is indebted to the location that birthed the band.

You see, despite the incredibly professional gloss on the songs, Provincial Parks recorded Iron Ponies -which like the song that shares the same name - and perfected their songs in the basement of their Ossington house. And on the surface, you might be able to name the ingredients that make up the Provincial Parks sound palette – acoustic driven tracks with solid electric backing work, pounding drums and soaring vocals – but you'd never expect a young band could pull off a track like Young Bride. The four-minute gem oozes confidence and throws in Rumors-like backing vocals on the chorus without feeling like a derivative attempt and mainstream success.

Provincial Parks eschew the hipper than hip vibe that dominates big urban centers and seem quite happy to dip into their parents' record collection and fuse tried and true sounds with radio ready rock songs. While that descriptor might be enough to warrant a disappointed face (trademark - Shane Nadeau), it's remarkable how tight this band is and how quickly the songs sink in. It's funny – well at least to me – that for some reason instead of talking about reasons to love this band, I keep coming up with reasons to prevent you from thinking you'll hate them.

I'm sure it's going to be something they have to deal with from the indie snob elite, but the beauty of the band is you can tell they don't care. Instead of trying to play with the hottest buzz bands, they open their home to local musicians for jam sessions and countless side projects. It's that kind of musical attitude that makes you hope this "local" band gets the chance to be heard by people outside of the scene that lays claim to them.

Posted at 8:30 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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