This Toronto quintet features the shredded-throat caterwauling of Bry Webb on ?Draw Us Lines,? the opening track on their third album. I?m immediately reminded of Joe Strummer?s toothless utterances with The Clash, although Doug MacGregor?s headbanging percussives suggests the band may be bigger fans of Killing Joke. MacGregor?s rat-a-tat attack is also at the center of ?Hotline Operator,? which begins life as a funky, bluesy duet with Webb and then frightenly delivers a chorus straight out of Hall & Oates. What the fuck is that all about?!?!
The band?s signature drums ?n? bass attack (Dallas Wehrle provides ample support throughout on his pounding four-string) propels the syncopated ?Love In Fear? into a direction The Police might have considered early in their career before Sting?s head got bigger than his talent and ?Zenyatta Mendatta? turned them into aloof millionaires. ?Lizaveta? is a stadium-ready anthem with a slow-burning, grungy Neil Young fronting Pearl Jam attitude and I also liked the softshoe shuffling two-step of the countrified ?Soon Enough? with hints of Camper Van Beethovan and Cracker hovering in the purple haze and ?Working Full Time,? with its heavy, balls to the wall powerchord crunch that wouldn?t be out of place on an AC/DC album.
So if you don?t mind the stylistic hodgepodge that makes it difficult to pigeonhole the band into one genre, you?ll find a lot to like here. I just hope they narrow their focus more in the future, so that songs like the flat, non-descript ?Good Nurse? and ?Thieves? will escape the final cut. And speaking of Pink Floyd(!), ?You Are A Conductor? sounds like an outtake from their latest reincarnation and probably will best anything the reformed longhairs will foist upon us. 7/10 -- Jeff Penczak (17 October, 2005)