Monday, September 09, 2013

The Gertrudes: "Neighbourhood" (album review)

It's ever so rare that a band seems to do everything well.  That's may very well be what Kingston's The Gertrudes have achieved with their new album Neighbourhood (out September 17th).

It's not often that a group manages to embrace both fun, peppy songs as well as mature and reflective ones.  The Gertrudes balance both with aplomb.

The group have a knack for penning engaging tunes.  The melodic, slightly twee "All Give Thanks To the Banks of America" is a hook-laden pop gem.  "Walking With Lola" is a choppy, infectious number that evokes thoughts of "Mickey".

The male/female vocal interplay is a highlight of the record.  It makes the rootsy "Rhubarb Pie" a delight.  It also takes "All the Dollar Bills Sing Hallelujah" to a whole new level of catchiness.

There's a serious side to the band as well.  "The Liar" is a gorgeous piece, while "Water On Your Body" is a wrenching twangy lament.  The strings on "Without Praise" make it an elegant affair.

The album opener, "Well Dressed Man" takes the sound in yet another completely different direction.  It's light, quirky arrangement seems inspired by Folk Implosion.  The fact that the vocals sound like Lou Barlow sure don't do anything to dissuade that comparison.

With nary a note out of place, and a sound that shifts often enough to remain fresh and compelling, it seems safe to pencil Neighbourhood in on year-end Top 10 lists already.

Best tracks: "Rhubarb Pie", "All the Dollar Bills Sing Hallelujah"

Track listing for Neighbourhood:
  • Well Dressed Man
  • All Give Thanks To the Banks of America
  • All Your Stars
  • Rhubarb Pie
  • Water On Your Body
  • All the Dollar Bills Sing Hallelujah
  • Walking With Lola
  • The Liar
  • Without Praise
  • People In Your Neighbourhood

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