Review – “Northern Register” – Community Theatre

reviewed by Laura Stanley community1

In October 2013, two of the nation’s finest independent record labels and their artists teamed up to form a supergroup of sorts that reflects the strength that lies in our vast independent music communities. Whitehorse based label, and fellow winged creatures, Headless Owl Records and Welland based label You’ve Changed Records brought together an array of their artists for a creative pilgrimage to the Yukon. What resulted from this recording session is proof that getting back to the basics, jamming with friends, is always beneficial and is ultimately a core value when making a record.

Featuring Mathias Kom (The Burning Hell), Kyle Cashen (Old Time Machine), Chris Adeney (Wax Mannequin), Michael Feuerstack, Colleen Collins & David Trenaman (Construction & Destruction), Steve Lambke (Baby Eagle), Ian Kehoe (Marine Dreams), Jim Kilpatrick (Shotgun Jimmie), and Richard Laviolette, Community Theatre is all about coming together and fostering the creative expressions that make you tick. According to the trailer for their album Northern Register, the members of the Community Theatre all brought a new song to work on during the intensive recording session in Whitehorse. Despite this singular base, each song is woven with the many talents of Community Theatre for a fruitful artistic experiment.

Where the album really shines is when this community atmosphere is the most obvious. In a clear nod to their Northern surroundings, the choir-like sounds of “Onward and Upward” really give you the sense of how fun a project this really is. In a hearty ode to the majestical Aurora Borealis, the line “Aurora Borealis, the nighttime is your palace” has to be my favourite, the gang of musicians show off their talented vocal chops for a harmonized treat. 

For another downright fun outing, Mathias Kom takes the lead in the groovy sounding, “I Think My World Just Got a Little Bit Bigger.” This quick tempo, quirky love song will introduce you to the lyrical style that makes The Burning Hell so great while your not-so- great flirting strategies will sound better when you hear the line: “you’re the kind of person who secretly plays the bass and I’m the kind of person who needs a secret bass player to join my secret band that I just started right now.

With its languid beat and backing instrumentals that sounds like a bitter winter wind, “Winter Studies No 4” is appropriately chill inducing. Brought to you in part by the duo Construction & Destruction, this song does well to capture those feelings when you are not quite sure if winter is ever going to end.

In salute to Michael Feuerstack’s former monicker, Richard Laviolette’s “Snailhouse” is another big hit from Northern Register. In a crunchy and reckless number, the fuzz is laid on thick but despite its rough exterior Laviolette and the rest of the Community Theatre are able to make this one of the catchiest songs of the record.

Community Theatre’s Northern Register is a collective project you need to be a part of.

Top Tracks: “Onward and Upward,” “Snailhouse”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)

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