Reviews:: The Coast - Queen Cities

It’s back to school time here in Halifax! Exciting times really, especially for us old crotchety types that can’t wait for the increased traffic and such caused by the sudden influx of thousands of university students. But I jest, there are advantages to being a University town: a concentration of students brings with it an energy and creativity that, as a music blog, we can’t help but embrace. So then, how about some tips for Halifax’s newest student arrivals!


Ummm, ok, here goes:

- Leave your Frisbee disc in Upper Canada, we don’t play that down here (shhhhhhhhh, zip it Ultimate guy on the Commons looking incredulous about that statement….)
- Try not to get your face punched-off at pizza corner
- I don’t care how hot it might still be here, don’t swin in the harbour, ever
- Donair poutine? Sober: No. Full of Liquid Courage: YESSSSSSSS
- Read herohill on a daily basis
- Get yourself a copy of The Coast’s new record Queen Cities.


Actually, there’s two Coasts that can help you, The Coast’s recent back to school guide might be of some actual use to you, unlike my feeble attempt, and the aforementioned Toronto band and their new album. So then, why is Queen Cities an essential back to school item? I can’t say for sure, other than the fact that it is, in my humble, a really great indie rock & roll record - the kind that’s full of riffs and the catchiest of hooks but still feels as though heart, thought, and soul were put into it, and what’s better to make friends over than a great album? Well, that and it deals with themes that one would think might resonate with the college crowd, like new love, loss, and getting out to explore the world at large.


Who knows, I’m likely biased, as The Coast have a sound that fits squarely in the non-hip hop portion of my wheelhouse, and I was a rather large fan of their last album Expatriate (funnily enough, I also mentioned Ultimate in that post, so either I have a secret desire to get out there and toss the Frisbee disc, or I’m kind of a dick. I lean towards the latter). But that said, Ben Spurr has pretty much the perfect voice for the style of songs The Coast serve up, and when you combine that with the fact that they seem to have turn the guitars up a notch this time out, it makes for a pretty welcoming package.


“Heartbreak City” welcomes everyone to the album with a hearty dose of those guitars on a good ol’ fashioned rocker, that hearkens back to the 70′s with the best of intentions, and some big drums and synths to boot. With more of a nod to today, “Lovers Go” is ostensibly an uptempo drums & jangly guitars sing-along festivus, but a backbone of lo-fi fuzzy feedback runs through the whole thing giving it a little more character. The brief, synth-heavy-without-feeling-like-it “White Season” has a chorus that is easily as catchy as anything you’ve heard this summer.


The Coast keeps the pedal to the catchy indie rock metal for most of the album, and subdued moments on Queen Cities are few and far between, as even quiet moments like the electronic bleeps and sparse hand claps that open “Golden Gate” are soon replaced by uptempo drums, riffs and even a bit of piano. “The Fire Out” is kind of a slow, ahem, burner, compared to the rest of the album, but even it has a sing-along chorus of the highest order.


In the end, The Coast has themselves a new record for one and all to enjoy. It’s short and sweet, with nine songs of what I’d call radio ready rock, not because I really expect to hear it on the radio, but it’s the kind of thing I’d love to stumble across whilst flipping the dial. But why wait for the radio to catch on, you dinosaur, the internet has what you need, so get on it.

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MP3:: The Coast - Heartbreak City


This entry was posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 12:53 pm and is filed under Reviews, The Coast. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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