Reviews:: Volcanoless in Canada The Way Forward

If @herohill wrote twitter reviews, instead of wordy, overlong summations of the Canadian music scene, reviewing the new Volcanoless in Canada record would be a lot easier. Something succinct like”Hot Damn! This is fantastic. #Acoustic_Summer_Dance_Party” would give most readers enough insight as to why The Way Forward is going to burn up the charts this summer/fall and help this SK band take get some much deserved shine.

But that’s not how we roll, and a few glossed over sentiments aren’t enough to describe what just might be my favorite record of the summer when push comes to shove. Even the setup of the band is perplexing. Three acoustic guitarists? At best, it seems like overkill right? At worst you might think this is some guitar noodling, masturbatory jam session. Wrong. The three acoustics fly around the intricate melodies, bobbing and weaving with a remarkable precision – almost like watching the Blue Angel fly wing to wing, you foolishly start to assume the beauty, control, and precision they display are something that comes effortlessly, without years of practice – but the band refuses to waste notes or let a song linger too long.

The melodies power forward with rapid strums and complex transitions, but the band never loses focus on making the crowd move. Throw in some heavy bass lines and huge drums and the Saskatoon 5-piece really starts to blend the lines between a punk rawk, mathy prog outfit (Mars Volta perhaps) and a band that could have stages at folk festival bouncing and dancing in one shape shifting cloud. Make Up Your Mind (Rm.5) start out like an acoustic, hard core song, but Mitch Lysak staccato delivery transforms the track into an infectious jam that has you reaching for the volume knob and nodding along instantly. When the group harmonies kick in with “make up your mind, MOTHER FUCKERS!” it’s over. If you don’t start loving this band you really are trying too hard.

But for me, the record really takes shape on Mexican Circus (March to the Holly Dome). The Spanish influence is paired with an urgency that showcases the creativity of the band. Even sitting in your chair, you start the urge to move and pump your fist. They keep the pace blistering and the intensity peaked on another intricate anthem (House of Souls (Artistry VS Fame)) and after the quick hitting three + minute jam, you are firmly entrenched in the record.

And I think the band knows it too.

The powerful start gives them the chance to change pace, offering up the crossover friendly London in Love (The Birds’ Nest) and Forevermore (Wah? Oh!). Both expose a more tender side of the band, and honestly, if all things were fair ViC would replace the “acoustic sensitivity” outfits like Simple Plan and Hedley shit out for instant radio success. Since I’m more of a roots guy, I would think my reaction would include shuddering and hitting skip, but when it comes to ViC, I buy into the tracks and happily sing along (especially when the group vocals on the latter take over).

The rest of the album really continues to meet the high standards of the first five songs. Shedding Skin (Corner Gas)Drown With the Rest of Them (Pop) provides a nice change of pace for the band and refreshes you for the last three songs, all of which build the record to a frantic climax (they even introduce an electric guitar solo on A World Soaked in Gold (Siesta)).

I can honestly say I didn’t expect to like The Way Forward nearly as much as I did. When we featured the band on the SK mixtape, I dug their sound but couldn’t have predicted a full record would hit me so hard. I didn’t expect to sink into the hooks as easily, and certainly didn’t expect to buy into the more tender moments. The sound (mixed by Alex Newport - The Mars Volta, Death Cab for Cutie - and mastered by Troy Glessner -Underoath, Anberlin) helps each note sound crisp and clean. You can hear all three guitars darting around the space, each cymbal crashing down and every head nodding bass pluck. Bottom line, if you are looking for a soundtrack to your summer and a band you can love when they finally start getting radio/soundtrack/TV spots, look now farther than Volcanoless in Canada.

MP3:: Volcanoless in Canada - Mexican Circus (March to the Holly Dome)

MP3:: Volcanoless in Canada - London in Love (The Birds’ Nest)


This entry was posted on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 7:36 am and is filed under Best-of '09, Canada, Music, Volcanoless in Canada. 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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