Review- “Arctic Radio”- EONS

arctic radioreviewed by Michael Thomas

Despite its chilly album title and eternity-referencing act name, Arctic Radio, the debut record from Matt Cully and Misha Bower of Bruce Peninsula is very warm.


Whether it’s the male-female vocals, the wail of pedal steel, subtle percussion or ethereal noises, there is a lot to like on the first album by EONS. It is folk at its core, and each song has a little piece that will make it stick out in the mind of the listener, whether it’s the instrumentals or the lyrics.

The title track begins the album off on a very ethereal note. Ghostly noises fill the background of the song, with simple acoustic guitar picking taking up the foreground. Cully’s voice is at once commanding, and he cleverly works in a line toward the end of the song: “We are the young, we are not the world,” a line that ties into the album’s other bookend, “We Are the Young.” The other bookend is much more minimalistic, featuring powerful vocals from Cully’s father (!) with very minimal backing instrumentation.

There is plenty more gloom to be had throughout the album. “Brothers & Sisters,” the second track on the album, features a pretty depressing line early on: “I had a wife, lost her life months after the wedding,” complete with a powerful string section. “The Harmonium Moans” is a short but gripping song with plenty of unorthodox sound (at least, what one might expect from a folk recording).

On the other side of things, there’s enough upbeat instrumentals and songs to balance out the sadness that so inhabits folk music. “Chair on Fire” is a nice break after the album’s melancholy note. It’s got some great percussive shakers in the song, the wail of a pedal steel and emotional vocals. “Red Writhing Hands” starts off quiet but suddenly bursts into loudness with a great exclamation of “God damn!” from Cully. “I’m Dying, Mother” takes a cue from revivalist church services for a bluegrass-flavoured number near the end of the album.

This is some nice, varied folk music that will be suitable for whatever season (or mood) you’re listening in.

Top Tracks: “Chair on Fire”; “Martial Law”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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