Royal Canoe have always been an unpredictable band. Their 2010 album Co-Op Mode was filled with surprises, from a song written by Deep Blue, the computer who faced Kasparov, to a song that sounds like it could have been written by the Bee Gees.
Since then, Royal Canoe seems to have backed away somewhat from the humour of their previous album but their music is no less creative. It’s just taken on a very different form.
“Hold Onto the Metal” opens up the album on a strange, tropical note. The first few instruments you’ll hear are bongos and what I assume is some kind of synth (but I’m probably wrong; the band seems to make anything at their disposal an instrument of some kind). The song quickly escalates into a chorus full of voices and multiple instruments playing.
“Bathtubs” is so full of activity that it could almost fill up a review on its own. It’s just over six minutes long but throws in everything it can. The distant-sounding drumming at the beginning gives way to an acoustic guitar. The song then reaches a point of tension with the line “There’s still a degree of celebration.” Not long after, the song becomes epic as what sounds like church bells accompanies one of the song’s catchiest lines: “The bathtubs in the hallway/Are here to stay” sung in shouts by many voices. And all this happens only by the halfway mark. There’s also distorted vocals singing “Hallelujah” and someone shouting “BOOM!”
There are still some distorted vocals in the song “Bloodrush” though the atmosphere has calmed down a little by this point. There are mainly keys, guitars and a drum machine backing up this song. The song gets at its catchiest during the refrain: “When you finally go/When you finally go/When you finally go/You’re gonna explode.”
And then there’s finally “Caught in a Loop.” Much like the opener, this song has a summery, tropical feel. I didn’t connect quite as much with this one, but it’s a nonetheless pleasant ending to a chaotic but pleasing EP.
Extended Play is bizarre, catchy and jarring all at once. Much as my words are attempting to describe the EP, it’s one you owe it to yourself to listen to.
Get it via Bandcamp.
Top Track: “Bathtubs”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*