Monday, April 11, 2011

One Hundred Dollars: "Songs Of Man" (album review)

Toronto's One Hundred Dollars have made a good name for themselves with their debut album and relentless gigging.  On May 10th they return with their sophomore full length record Songs Of Man.

Recorded at Blue Rodeo's recording studio, the album has a very echoy and hollow feel to it.  That lends a slightly haunting quality to the music.  The mood is stark, filled with coldness and desolation.

Couple that with Simone Schmidt's gravelly warble vocal delivery and you get a sound that should hold limitless appeal for fans of Cowboy Junkies or Neko Case.  A song like the twangy "Brother" is a perfect example of this.

Sparse arrangement on songs like "Aaron's Song" and "Powdered Confessions" provides an atmosphere in which the introspective and personal nature of the lyrics are allowed to shine through.

It's not all bleak country with One Hundred Dollars though.  On the single "Waiting On Another" they prove to be able to pen a catchy number ideal for a road trip.  "Everybody Wins" is a step towards classic country, with some biting tongue-in-cheek lyrics.

Songs Of Man is one of those rare albums that has a little bit of everything for the roots or country music fan. It should be on rotation for any self-respecting Polaris juror.

The iTunes edition of the album includes a pair of bonus tracks: the radio edit of "Waiting On Another" and "Carnations".

Best tracks: "Waiting On Another", "Everybody Wins"

Track listing for Songs Of Man:

  • Ties That Bind
  • Work
  • Where the Sparrows Drop
  • Brother
  • Waiting On Another
  • Fires Of Regret
  • Everybody Wins
  • Powdered Confessions
  • Aaron's Song
  • Black Gold

8.0/10
One Hundred Dollars' website

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