If you live anywhere in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and can cup your ear in the direction of Sydney’s North End, no doubt that low rhythmic sound you hear is emanating from the abode known as the House of Rock.
Slowcoaster (the name is a term of derision the West Coast uses for the East Coast)–Steven MacDougall on guitar, Mike LeLievre on bass, and Devon Strang on drums–is just one of several bands whose members make the House their home. While the Squatters channel Johnny Cash, and Rock Ranger blast out guitar god power riffs, Slowcoaster definitely have the funk. Smokey and snaky rhythms, and infectious chant-like choruses full of beat-poet wordplay make their first full length CD a mellow but paradoxically invigorating experience. (An earlier EP demo CD was only available if you happened to run into a band-member when he needed some immediate cash.) Besides the funk, there is a light jazzy dusting in both MacDougall’s precise but not pushy guitar stylings and LeLievre and Strang’s intricate rhythms. Although there are only a few of MacDougall’s patented social observations–he has been known to out-rant Dennis Miller in their live shows–this is still consciousness raising music you can dance to.
Most of the nine tracks were recorded live off the floor at Ridge Recordings by Carter Chaisson (with one track included from the demo with a sweet trumpet solo by Carrie Ellen Gabriel and recorded by Gordie Sampson at Lakewind Sound). As a result, the CD sounds as fresh and spontaneous as their mood altering live show, and, if you play it long enough and loud enough, maybe it’ll turn your house in a House of Rock, too.