Review- “Between a Rock and a Heartbreak”- Canary Mine

reviewed by Michael Thomas

“Genre fusion” is a term thrown around quite liberally on the music scene, and this blog is no exception. It’s probably safe to say that at some point, every genre of music has been mixed with every other genre of music with some, no, or a lot of success.

Canary Mine seems to be an amalgamation of a little bit of everything. They are most obviously steeped in roots and country sound, but there are also elements of hip-hop and gospel and even blues, as well as other genres which might be more subtle. This is thanks to the diverse musical background of this sprawling band (the drummer played heavy metal, the guitarist was a hip-hop emcee, etc.)

The result of this “little bit of everything” approach is an album full of memorable tracks. I hadn’t realized how deeply some of the songs had buried themselves in my head until I listened a few more times.

One of the things this band is not afraid to do is sing about things that might make people uncomfortable. No one wants to talk about nasty-smelling pets, but Canary Mine does just that in “Walk My Dog.” In addition, I don’t think the singer is talking about an actual dog all the time, particularly in the lines where he says “So won’t you wag my dog.” Even more uncomfortable than foul-smelling canines is the song “By the Balls,” an upbeat roots-rock number about, grabbing life by the balls. Someone should take a count on how many times the band yells “BALLS!” It’s a lot.

“Chips Cashed In” shows off the hip-hop side to the band that exists in a small degree. The layout of the song reminded me a lot of perhaps Sublime, or another group that fuses hip-hop sensibilities with rock. The delivery of the lyrics is quite impressive. “Orion’s Belt” also falls into this category, with the interesting addition of “rapping” plus roots-sounding choruses.

“Get Out of Your Head” takes a turn for the experimental- what starts off as a slightly sinister, atmospheric number suddenly abandons that train altogether to deliver a simple country ditty with rapid-fire lyrical delivery.

“Bury Me Not (On the Lone Prairie)” is the most straight country-sounding tune, with both main vocals and backup vocals, and a slow, lilting pace. “Why’d You Send Me This Trial Lord” seems like the most sincere song of the album and is quite the beautiful specimen of a song, inspired partly by the gospel I mentioned earlier.

One last song worth noting (though there are plenty more noteworthy tracks) is the song “Ooh Girl” which I imagine must have been hard for the band to play with a straight face. The song is reminiscent of the cheesiest 90’s soul you can think of, even featuring the lines “Girl you’ve got so much booty/I want to rock your body every single day.” This song is much shorter than all the others and is so jarring that I can’t see it as anything more than a humour break. That said, it definitely fits in with the band’s “image.”

Between a Rock and a Heartbreak is something very uniquely belonging to Canary Mine, and a great calling card for this already-experienced band.

The album will be released tomorrow, April 20th, at the band’s release show at the Rivoli. You can get more information on tour dates and other such things at the band’s website.

Top Tracks: “Get Out of Your Head”; “Why’d You Send Me This Trial Lord”; “The Bombizzle Blues”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) +*swoop*

2 comments

  1. Watched this group of ” young genius” grow through to maturity. Highly underrated by the CBC.
    Humour is brilliant.

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