It has been almost two years since The Wicks released their collection of home recordings under the title Clouds. As a band who has a familiar and comforting sound to that of other B.C. bands, I said earlier that The Wicks could be the best friends of your other favourite west coast bands. In their new full-length record, the familiar sounds remains, though where Clouds presented it in a fairly patchy way, The Good Times Are Gone offer an entirely driven sound not previously heard.
Formerly based in Victoria but now relocated to Montreal, The Wicks’ frontman Matt McLean has one of those voices that stays in your head long after the record is over. A mix of a rough grumble and animated whine, the often emotional lyrics of The Good Times Are Gone carry an extra element with them due to this delivery style.
In the first three tracks alone, “There’s No Telling Where She Goes,” “Lonely Heart,” and “Home,” a dispirited tone is clear. Where “There’s No Telling Where She Goes” has a slower, lulling beat, “Lonely Heart” and “Home” have a more upbeat rock flavour to them. With a bluesy, almost dour sounding, riff throughout, and lyrics like “Oh, how the rain, how it washed me out and kept me home in bed,” “Home” is the standout out of the three.
In the vein of Joel Plaskett’s “Love This Town” or The Weakerthans’ “One Great City,” The Wicks’ unique ode to a city can be found in another standout track, “Charlottetown.” Along with some very catchy lyrics, “Charlottetown” merges a great folk-rock sound with a nicely placed fiddle throughout – a nod, I assume, to the East coast town itself.
In a sprawling finish, The Good Times Are Gone’s final two songs bring back the more acoustic sound of Clouds. “What Went Wrong” is a very quick number, clocking in at just over a minute, and features almost creepy sounding wails, which are actually relatively inaudible lyrics, from McLean. Finally, in a tale about the end – whether it is about actual death or just the end of a relationship is up for interpretation – the sullen “Helan” ends the record.
The Wicks ultimately prove that the good times are not quite over with their latest release.
Be sure to go check out The Wicks during their fall, cross country tour with The Fight when they are in your city. For more info, give this Exclaim! post a read.
Top Tracks: “Home,” “Charlottetown”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)