Apparently, you should never judge a book by it’s cover. Really? As soon as I saw the artwork for this spiky slice of folk punk from Montreal’s Bucky Harris, I knew I’d like it. What I wasn’t expecting was to love it.
The first 3 songs zip past with total blood and thunder glory. The opening riff to “Disremember Me” gives way to a battery of frenetic drumming and distorted chords. Chest beating anthem, “The Vanishing Point” demonstrates the sheer power of Michael Wynands’ voice before “Like Scarecrows in a Storm” hits you with another emotional uppercut. With barely time to take a breath you are struck by how tight and impassioned the band is. Heart pounding drinking song “Ruckus” begs to be heard in a huddle of your best friends with beer spilling on your shoes.
“These Walls” is the first single and the album’s stand out song. It has a insistent chorus that’ll lodge in your brain like a tic in a dog’s back. If ever a song had the potential to push a band to the overground, then this is it. You’ll find yourself screaming the chorus whilst blinking back tears. There is a coarse street edge to the straight ahead punk songs that open up the album that mix the fury of The Sainte Catherine’s and the melody of The Lawrence Arms.The songs sound lived in and well hewn. They sound like they have already soundtracked many a drunken night and are hell bent on accompanying a few more. Then, suddenly, the album is given room to breath and it becomes evident just how special the band is.
Skeletal song “Sleep” sees frontman Wynand accompanied by a fragile, gently strummed electric guitar until the band add some country flourishes that turn it into something quite beautiful. The slower pace continues into “Break Us Apart” before a furious drum assault propels the song into another wild anthem. The riff on “Decanter” struts to the front adding some hard rock menace before giving way to a magnificently emotive chorus. “Catacombs” adds a rootsy, Johnny Cash feel and adds further depth to the album. Shout along anthem “Wake up” closes the album with the sound of the whole band bellowing out a life-affirming chorus. You’ll find yourself bawling along long after the music stops.
Wynand’s voice is some weapon to have at your disposal. It has a powerful clarity to it that can both raise your fist in the air and bring a tear to your eye. In that way it recalls Laura Jane Grace’s most powerful performances. The wrought, heart on their sleeve lyrics are reminiscent of bands like the Gaslight Anthem but they are no less powerful because of it. He manages to voice the struggles and joys of life while still sounding fresh.
This is a roughly hewn diamond of an album. The band bring to mind Against Me! with the street smarts of Dead to Me with a touch of Gaslight Anthem’s freewheeling Americana. However, rather than ape them, they weave the punk, folk and country stylings to create something genuinely thrilling. This is an album that begs to soundtrack good times and heartbreak.
And I was also right about the cover.
Add Bucky Harris to My Radar