A lyric from this EP’s fourth song, “Memory Boy” provides a succinct summary of 41st and Home, an “orchestral chamber rock” band from Vancouver: “We just grow and grow and grow.”
Raised by Wolves is the band’s second recording, their first being 2010’s Left in Places. This new EP has shown a change in direction from Left in Places and it’s a change for the better. The EP was recorded in about a month, and the band started to play more and more with arrangements.
Here’s the result: rather than just have a bunch of instruments playing at once, the band does well in making sure every instrument has its due. One can hear the tinkling of keys, the thumping of bass, the pounding of a foot pedal, the whir of strings and the punch of horns all in the space of one song.
Somehow the band also manages to fill their songs with hooks, leaving the musical arrangements in one’s head there for quite a while. There’s the aforementioned “We just grow and grow and grow” from “Memory Boy” and then there’s the “woah’s” in “Modern Medicine.”
The brief intro “Summons” showcases the band’s musical muscle and it transitions seamlessly into “Modern Medicine” which also showcases the band’s vocal harmonies. At this point I was wondering if there’s anything the band can’t do, and I couldn’t think of anything.
“Hummingbird” is another great example of the band’s musical prowess. It features an instrumental solo around the middle that shows how well strings (a violin and a cello) and horns work together. “Gorbachev,” a song that is probably the most likely to become an ear worm, also shows how great these instruments work.
The final song “Raised by Wolves” ends on a quiet note. Half the song is a bunch of atmospheric swirls of keys and whatever else, which then transitions to simple picking of the acoustic guitar and nothing else. Singer Thom Kolb’s vocals are soft and breathy, and even heartbreaking as he says “So long, my feral friends.”
It should be easy to see why this band is so worthy of your attention. The band is still very young, but showing this much control this early can only mean great things. Root for them in the Peak Performance Project and go and stream or buy Raised by Wolves here.
Top Tracks: “Modern Medicine”; “Memory Boy”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) +*swoop*