Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Scatterheart - The Masterplan

I first saw Scatterheart well over a year ago at The Distrikt when they opened for Bif Naked. Right from the start, this was a band that commanded your attention. Even before the opening notes, the band just looked like they had IT. The band dressed sharp and their charismatic singer, Jesse Enright, was wearing his now trademark football shoulder pads adorned with feathers. Right away it was obvious that this wasn't going to be shoe-gazing music. That night they definitely won over the Bif crowd, who no doubt recognized guitarist Doug Fury from his decade-long tenure with Ms. Naked.

Since then, I've had the pleasure of seeing them two or three more times while they've toured the hell out of their debut album, The Masterplan. These guys are definitely road warriors! Since they are an independent band, they are building their audience one show at a time. And what a show they put on... feathers, yoga headstands, bubble machines, dance contests and covers of Rush, Queen and U2 thrown in for good measure. Simply put, Scatterheart are just tons of fun. They combine the dumb fun of hair metal, the energy of punk rock and the artsiness of 7o's glam rock. With his stage get-up and piercing voice, Jesse Enright reminds me of what would happen if Perry Farrell, Dee Snider and David Bowie had an orgy. These guys are the most fun Canadian rock band since Robin Black decided to focus on MMA.

As good as their live show is, it would all mean nothing if their songs were shite. Luckily, The Masterplan is a stellar batch of tunes. Aside from one or two forgettable songs, their debut is loaded with instantly memorable melodies, crunching guitars and a tight rhythm section. These are unabashed pop songs brimming with positive energy. It's so easy to be cynical and negative in today's world. In particular, it's easier to write songs filled with angst and negative energy. So it's refreshing every now and then for a rock band to have the balls to promote potentially hokey and cheesy themes as love and positivity. Thankfully, they pull it off just fine. Standout songs include "Beautiful," "More Man Than A Man," "The Free" and "We Are Stars."

Make sure to check them out when they spread their "love rock revolution" at The Exchange September 9! You can check out a great live clip of their performance of "The Free" at the Busan International Rock Festival. (I don't think The Exchange can fit this many people...)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

American Hi-Fi: 'Fight the Frequency'

To say that ‘Fight the Frequency’ is a lot different from American Hi-Fi’s previous efforts would be a lie. However after taking a break to be Miley Cyrus’ back up band (yeah I know… *scoff*) and label issues the band is able to put their latest effort’ Fight the Frequency’ was supposed to be out in ’07 to follow up ‘05’s ‘Hearts On Parade’.

The record is strong and to me has a ‘Lit’ meets ‘Something Corporate’ feel. They don’t follow regular mainstream formula's where ballads are ballads and rock songs are rock songs. Instead they kind of meld the two ideas’ on most. That being said they still generally lean on way or another. There are some balls out rock tunes on the record such as ‘Fight the Frequency, ‘Frat Clump’ and ‘Bullet. The only ballady one is “Where Love is a Lie” but even that is a stretch and ‘Tiny Spark’ has elements of a ballad, however I would hardly consider it a ballad. The other eight are a meld of the two, straight up great song pop’n’roll songs like ‘Acetate’ and ‘Lost’.

I believe they have taken some tips from their friend Butch Walker in making sure this record was polished and produced well. Lead singer Stacy Jones is no slouch as a producer as well. Where this record beats the previous ones is that I would have taken some tracks of previous records. This one I wouldn’t. A couple tracks may get played less but they stay. The sound quality is here. If you like well written pop songs and their previous efforts, give it a spin. I love it but always have liked this band. I would say it’s their best record to date, just edging out ‘03’s ‘Art of Losing’…just barely. American Hi-Fi is definitely a consistent band.

As much as I love their first single ‘Lost’, I probably would have picked something with a little more punch. It’s a great record with a lot of swagger and riffing energy. ‘Fight the Frequency’ is great… not superb or excellent and far from classic… just great. I am looking forward to the bands next record that will be a lot similar to this one and the one before and the one before.

My favourite on the record is ‘Keep It Like a Secret’

“I don't know how you love
With that smile on your face
It's all take and no give
You're an amazing disgrace

Hide the lies between the bloodshot eyes
Keep it close to me
I'll never let it show

You got your army but they're my spies
Keep it like a secret man
I just cant let it go
Let it go”


The first single 'Lost' has embedding disabled by the users request. Check out the link.

Cheers Rockers!!