The Fulcrum evaluates interesting music releases from the past week
Single of the week: “I See Ghosts” by The Lathums 4.8/5
This fast-paced bass driven tune may be about being haunted by your ex, but it 100 per cent puts a smile on your face. Vocalist Alex Moore’s delivery is very unique: he plays with the vocal timing of the song, oftentimes singing the end of the verses extremely fast in a ska fashion.
Moore’s vocals are beautifully complemented by guitarist Scott Concepcion’s funky and reggae-inspired playing.
It’s clear, though, that the bass is the driving force behind this tune. Bassist Johnny Cunliffe’s new-wave style mixes really well with Conception’s guitar playing and Moore’s vocals, creating an original sound singular to the Lathums — a sound that, if properly developed and marketed, could bring the Wigan, U.K. lads to the forefront of mainstream rock music.
Highlighted Albums: Metz: Atlas Vending 3.7/5
Ottawa band Metz is back in force with a heavy punk album. The record opens on a strong note with “Pulse” and its fuzzed-up guitars, as well as “Blind Youth Industrial Park,” which has a nice mix of riffs accompanied by a Foo Fighters-esque chorus.
The highlights of the record, however, are “No Ceiling” and “Hali Taxi.” The instrumental work on “No Ceiling” is great and very melodic: it blends well with frontman’s Alex Edkins delivery. “Hali Taxi,” the other standout on this record is catchy, with Edkins repeating over and over: “I’ll send a messenger/ I’ll send a messenger for you,” which I guarantee will give you an earworm – something rare for a punk song.
There are a couple of tracks on the record that do drag on for a little too long, though. “The Mirror” and “A Boat to Drown On” (an instrumental) come to mind, as they don’t bring much to the album but collectively take up more than a quarter of the 40-minute run time.
Mise en Scene: Winnipeg, California 4.1/5
This Manitoban duo’s latest effort is diverse and scattered in sound, as none of the tracks sound the same.
The opening track “About Love” is filled with angst and flutes, and sounds like a Weezer outtake from the Pinkerton sessions. The song “High School Feeling,” a ballad where the narrator reminisces about high school, has a guitar sound that is very similar to U2’s “One.” This is a good thing, as it helps the album flow. However, for some tracks it does fall flat, like in “Angel,” which has a Sheryl Crow vibe but just doesn’t cut it.
This record is well made: Eric Ratz and Dave Genn produced it, and deserve a lot of credit as the album sounds clean and well recorded. They were able to effectively mix Stef Johnson’s vocals with different guitar tones and pedals as well as Jodi Dunlop drumming, to create a real banger of a record.
Discovery of the Week: Black Pumas
Black Pumas are formed by vocalist/songwriter Eric Burton and guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada. The Austin, Texas based duo’s music can be described as funky folk groove music that evokes 60’s nostalgia.
The group’s second single “Colors,” is meant for those evening strolls in Sandy Hill enjoying the contrasts created by the fall colours and old brick houses. It helps ease the soul and creates a sense of escapism as the world seemingly burns around us.
This brings me to “Fire,” another soulful and groovy jam which features a jazzy trumpet, piano, and clean electric guitar.
“Black Moon Rising” is the kind of 60s-inspired tune that can only be fully enjoyed on an old record player as you dance in your room listening to the needle hit all the grooves on the vinyl.
Personally, I came across this group while looking for cool Beatles covers and found Pumas’ unique version of the McCartney classic “Eleanor Rigby”: I wasn’t disappointed!