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Arkells – High Noon (2014)

February 15, 2017

ontario

Doubly Awesome Double Guitar logo by LeBrain @ mikeladano.com

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All this week, a few of my fellow Ontarians (Aaron, Brian, DeKe, and Mike) have been & will be reviewing some of the finest music our province has produced.

Although musically, I’m hopelessly living in the past, I’m grateful that this multi-site event has given me a chance to, at least momentarily, live dangerously close to the present.

And with a release date of 2014? This album is so new it’s practically unreleased!

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The first album, Jackson Square (2008), was solid, with a handful of spectacular tracks (The Ballad of Hugo Chavez, Pullin’ Punches, John Lennon).

The follow-up, Michigan Left (2011), was a more cohesive set, albeit not as strong in the singles department.

Third time’s the charm I suppose with High Noon (2014), as it’s a front-to-backer, with no shortage of individual gems along the way.

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20th Century advice for crafting an effective radio tune? Keep it to 3 minutes, max.

In the 21st Century?

Nobody writes better alternative radio tunes than Arkells, though their best songs are generally closer to 3:30-4:00.

The songs are catchy, but far from disposable, as shown in the Fake Money wordplay (“You’re praying to gods who are meaningless to me, You’re preying on the weak, and those who don’t believe”).arkells_high_noon

They’re also a band that, by all accounts, is pretty down to earth.

The video for 11:11 above? Filmed @ Cheapies in Hamilton.

You can imagine my giddyness when my hometown of Burlington was name-checked in Cyncial Bastards (“Those Burlington dads keep their daughters at home”).

Speaking of daughters, my music & my kids’ music collided a couple of years ago in a delightful way when lead singer Max Kerman appeared with Sharon & Bram to perform Peanut Butter!

On the rare occasions that we reclaim control of the car stereo, High Noon is also near the top of the shortlist of albums that my wonderful wife & I both really enjoy.

And great as the studio recordings are, they’re even better live.

They’re one of the few groups chosen to open for the Hip that didn’t feel like an opener; instead of polite, seated applause (or impatient chants of ‘hip hip hip’), Arkells had the crowd on their feet, singing/screaming along.

When High Noon is playing, singing/screaming along is exactly what I do.

So I guess with Arkells, apart from the somewhat awkward lack of “The” in the band name, what’s not to like?

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Verbalize the Positive

Cheers to Ontari-ari-ario for being a great place to live & to the Ontarian musicians who have made so much memorable music!

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15 Comments
  1. RIGHT ON! Was hoping someone would do Arkells!

    I’ve been to that very Cheapies. I bought my second copy of Deep Purple’s Purpendicular there, and a few Kula Shaker singles.

    Cheers to Ontari-ari-ario indeed, I really like this band and I’m glad this week gave you the chance to post this.

    • And I’m quite glad this group-post week gave me the chance to post about them!

      I was thinking of talking about them in a series next year, ‘the 1002nd album you must hear’ where I’d ask you guys for guest posts on deserving albums/artists that didn’t make the cut.

      I’m still planning on doing the series (stay tuned for guest-post requests in the fall!) but now I’ll get to choose another deserving artist for my example post of a gem that didn’t make the initial 1001!

  2. (I still sometimes call them The Arkells)

  3. Cool post heard of em not listened to em but I will check the video posted! Just read that there latest release went Gold and thats saying something in this day and age!

  4. Oh! Never heard of this lot, but yes! I think I could dig this!

    • This would be a good one to start with, but you can’t really go wrong with any of the first 3!

  5. Hooray for Arkells! I still need this album (in fact, I only have Michigan Left… oversiiiiiight!). But we saw them at the Horseshoe on a bill with Immaculate Machine (OMG talk about fun) and they were really really good. I’d see them play again anytime.

    You’ve put them back on my radar! Thanks Geoff! Great pst (and I love how the Positive sction goes to the entire province. D’awwwww).

    • Oversiiiiiiiiiiiight indeed! Not to worry, I haven’t picked up their new one yet, but they’re 3 for 3 so far. I don’t think I’ve seen a show at the Horseshoe, oversiiiiiiiight on my part!
      Thanks Aaron!

      • They’ve been on my list for a while, but I went off on a jazz and world music tangent recently so… hm. Maybe I can get their stuff from the death throes of HMV…

        The Horseshoe is tiny. Maybe 500 people at full capacity? Small, anyway. The whole time we were there, I was trying to imagine the time the Stones played there as a warm-up gig for a tour. IMAGINE!

        But yeah, the Arkells were so solid live, and they looked like they were having a blast. Also, Immaculate Machine (the band we went to see) were awesome too, but my bias says that that goes without saying. 🙂

      • The stones in a club that size? Speaking of yes please!

      • Yup, it was a warm-up gig for a tour. They always play smaller venues to get warmed up. So glorious. People lined up for hours for wristbands…

        Yeah, the Horsesho ain’t too big. This link has the history (the first license was for 87 seats!)

        http://www.horseshoetavern.com/our-history/

  6. Thanks for the intro Geoff, and the song you posted is pretty good indie pop, probably just a little too spiky to be a big hit, however that’s a good thing in my book.

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