Making an original rock record is hardly a simple challenge in this amazingly diverse time for the genre, but in The Respectables’ new album The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll, the Canadian hitmakers make it look incredibly easy. Rather than rejecting the progressive nature of rock’s present identity, The Respectables flank their traditional sound with an urbane postmodernity in this latest LP, and as a result, tender some of their most cutting electric and acoustic material thus far in their career as a band. “The Shotgun Seat,” “Give Some,” “As Good as Love Gets” and “18 Wheeler” would have made a captivating extended play in their own right, but instead they’re joined by a treasure chest of material that is textured, tightly mixed and ready to rock your spring.
The Respectables’ broad range of influences are well-represented in this record, but they aren’t overstated in the actual substance of the music. The band playfully pays homage to American blues and country music in tracks like “Mardi Gras,” “Wheel in My Hand” and “Highway 20,” while introducing their own unique varietal of Canadian flare to the tonality of each song. The sonic depth of this record is sterling to say the least, and there are some instances where the instrumentation tells us as much of a story as the lyrics do – such as with “Limousine” and the title track – but make no mistake about it; The Respectables put a lot of work into the poetry that inhabits this album’s most evocative moments.
WATCH THE VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCcty_OEC0k
When it comes to music videos, I’m not hesitant to admit that most of what The Respectables’ peers have released in the last couple of years has been hit or miss (and that’s putting it as generously as I can), but the group really pulls out the big guns for their treatment of The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s crown jewel single – the title track. The erudite shots of the winding country roads and glistening waterfront peers are almost like physical amalgamations of the textured melody that we’re hearing in the song. The focus is always on the music above anything else that we’re witnessing in the video, and in this overstimulating chapter in pop music history, it’s a step away from the norm and a reminder of what really matters most to this band – the art form itself.
The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll is executed by its creators sleekly, and there’s never any doubt as to whether or not the chemistry between the players is honest, organic and unaided by external technology. A song like “That Girl” couldn’t have been born out of anything less than a profoundly intimate relationship between composer and craft, and the same can be said for all of the ten songs that it sits beside in this record. I was expecting an awful lot when I was first tasked with reviewing this latest release from The Respectables, and I must say, I was utterly blown away by what it had to offer me even in a cursory breakdown of its tracks. This is the good stuff if I’ve ever heard it, and it definitely belongs on your stereo right now.
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