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Friday, July 31, 2009

Reviews:: The Warped 45's 10 Day Poem For Saskatchewan

Warped 45's, Stand By Me

What really constitutes a break out band these days? It certainly doesn’t revolve around record sales or record deals, and it’s not as clear cut as getting posted on a few blogs. With so many people simply cutting and pasting press releases or falling in line with the few big dogs that drive popularity, even the shittiest (most persistent) band can get love from a hundred blogs.

To be honest, despite the insane amount of people talking about music these days, popularity has little to do with who is talking about you and more to do with who shows up when you play. Becoming a successful band requires a more traditional, grass roots approach, especially when even your "biggest" fan has download your record the day after you get to hear the mastered version. Almost anyone can craft a hook and get their 15-minutes, but building a fan base and – not to get all Stillwater (especially after that doofus Bill Simmons beat it into the ground last week) on you – turning people on each time you hit the stage is a skill that precious few bands seem to possess and even less seem to care about.

That's why, of all the music that is cluttering up my desk right now, I am not sure how many will still be around in another year (let alone five), but if I had to pick one band that is going to make it (and by it, I mean have a career, a catalog and a fan base that stays with them as their sound shifts and matures), it would be Toronto’s The Warped 45’s. The band already has the hustle to start building fans organically – tons of shows and the passion to keep going when days stuck in the van watching the odometer turn start to take their toll – and more importantly, good f*cking songs that aren’t written hoping to latch on to the hottest sound.

These guys don't come off like like art schoolers toying with irony and sarcasm. No, you get the distinct impression they'd be playing music together on a Friday night, even if no one was listening. That’s probably why soon, tons of people will be all ears. It’s impossible to throw on their debut full length - 10 Day Poem For Saskatchewan - without letting your thoughts drift to the music that has controlled the radio waves for decades. The Toronto quintet offer up their take – and make no mistake, the young band is writing original tracks that may offer a subtle tip of the cap to the great, but refuse to sample liberally from their buffet – on laid back country roots and is writing songs that could have been played years ago, but will still be poignant years down the road. There are moments of beauty, like the strings and piano on the opening title track or Andrew Penner's nice steel to the closer, Why Have You Passed Me By Grim Reaper, but the textures and emotions all sound familiar.

No matter how the world shifts and music changes, there is always going to be a home for blue collar rock n roll, and pure country sounds. The Warped 45’s undoubtedly grew up listening to The Band, Neil, Petty and Merle, and understand the importance of connecting with the masses. They deliver working class inspiration (Progress), and craft melodies fitting for the best moments of simple days. The melancholic slow breeze of Two Month Old Apologies or the AM radio ready (and aptly titled) Radio Sky are tailor made for summer drives or back porch sing-alongs. They can tug on your heart strings with odes to the brokenhearted, like they do on the beautiful mandolin and string laced ballad Why Oh Why.

At the end of the day however, I think that it’s the road that is the key to the band’s future. Fine tuning their songs, energy and attitude night after night will help this band that is destined to be hand picked to open for some of the biggest names in the Canadian scene. Playing alongside people that have already made the jump will not only mature the band, it will inspire them. Admittedly, I’ve never seen them live, but I get the distinct impression that even with how successful their recorded output is already, their live show more than stacks up. Leader of The Lost Expedition and We Know One Thing (those hand claps will fill the venue) sound solid in the studio, but both have the potential to take on new life once the adrenaline and whiskey is flowing. The same can be said about the guitar noodles, harmonies and twinkled ivories of Really Don’t Mind.

The Warped 45's seem to have the elusive combination of sounds (think Wilco or Blue Rodeo) that hit home with people aged 14 to 50, sound great at festivals under the clear night sky or the beating sun, but still have the grit and energy to blow the roof of a tiny club. They've already grabbed the title of fan favorite from NXNE and I think comparable accolades will follow soon.

MP3:: The Warped 45's - Radio Sky

MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/thewarped45s
WEB:: http://thewarped45s.com/

Labels: , , , The Warped 45's,

Posted at 8:20 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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