CD REVIEW BY JOEL INGLIS
I finally got a hold of Strongboy’s new album, Steady. They played a show at The Upstairs last week and I went with the hopes of picking up a copy of their CD. I got to the show and Alex was working the door. I told him I wanted to pick up a CD and was informed that it’s only available on cassette. I feel like a curmudgeon complaining about not being able to get a CD but I feel confused by only being able to get just a cassette tape. I remember holding onto tapes for way longer than the industry allowed. I would borrow CDs and dub them on my cassette player. I would go to Wal-Mart and pick their cassette section clean. Then one day, they stopped being a thing. They stopped dead. Now they are making an awkward resurgence that confuses and enrages me. Nevertheless, the band put on an amazing show and I was able to get the album digitally.
“Her Heart”, the opening track, starts the album off really awesomely and evokes images of somebody sadly driving in a scene from a dramatic movie. Seriously. This song should be used for the scene where the main character is driving away from a bad situation, his sad face lit up by the passing highway lights as Brett mournfully asks to be loved and needed. Alex’s harmonies add beautifully to the pain while the intricate drumming and beautiful guitar licks, of Seamus and Tyler respectfully, set an absolutely perfect scene.
The album flows beautifully with experimental elements, fun pop sounds, and slightly retro psychedelic melodies. It’s a cohesive work that provides a really good first impression of the band and also serves to sufficiently provide a taste of an amazing live act. Rest assured, this is an album to dance to. Strongboy puts on an amazing live show and makes the crowd move. This album captures that energy in a beautiful way.
I have been a fan of these musicians for probably a decade or so now and I cannot say enough about how impressed I am by their talents. They’ve spent their years in Halifax honing some amazing talent, immersing themselves in the music community and developed into an awesome band that, I’m quite sure, Cape Breton really wants to take ownership of.
The title track, “Steady”, is one of those rare awesome songs that’s so beautiful and simple that it makes you a little mad. It’s like when you see a really beautiful painting and you think “I could do that.” It’s dancey but chill. It has a driving rock beat and a slow meandering bass line. It has four-note guitar riff that repeats and sounds dissonant and cool in the context and slightly infuriates.
My one complaint about the album is that some of the effects (vocal and guitar) seem slightly overused. Part way through the album, I started to wonder whether or not there would be a track that didn’t have the same guitar tone. On the other hand, the band has a very specific sound that works incredibly well and sets them apart from the crowd.
Strongboy – Steady is available @ https://strongboyhalifax.bandcamp.com/