(Six Shooter Records)
Sometimes when the stars are aligned in just the right sequence, a band/artist goes into a recording studio and pure magic is created. Such is the case with Toronto sextet The Strumbellas whose debut single “Spirits” has already filtered out onto the airwaves like some rampant musical virus. Somewhere in traffic jams all over the continent, frustrated drivers and passengers alike find themselves singing “I’ve got guns in my head and they won’t go, spirits in my head and they won’t go” as they navigate their travels.
But it’s not just one song we have here. Other tracks like “Shovels And Dirt”, “We Don’t Know”, “Wars” and “Dog” are all constructed around plaintive verses that burst out into contagious anthemic choruses. If this band was British, their songs would be staple fodder at soccer stadiums all over the island. It’s not just the irresistible lyrics either, the ability of Messers Simon Ward (guitar/vocals), David Ritter (keyboards, vocals), John Hembrey (lead guitar), Darryl James (bass), Jeremy Drury (drums) and the band’s sole female, Isabel Ritchie (violin) to create authentic instrumental arrangements around the band’s 11 tracks only make them even more unique.
Think of Hedley meets Spirit Of The West meets The Barra MacNeills, the tagline Pop Folkgrass maybe gimmicky but it is somewhat effective. I mean who else would think of adding a cello solo arrangement to “We Don’t Know” and the band’s constant use of strings and violin to underpin their pop arrangements just enhance the overall production.
Producer David Schiffman (Johnny Cash, Weezer) obviously played a major role in shaping this vibrant production, several tracks of which will become radio staples in the months ahead. Hope is just that good!