Somewhere in between hearing about “Real Teen Witches” and “Casket Shopping At Honest Ed’s,” (the opening and closing tracks of Entire Cities’ Rock Chapel) I thought, “hot damn, this record is fun!” Lyrically, neither of those two songs are particularly fun, actually lyrically all of Rock Chapel is pretty much a downer but Entire Cities makes it all fun. It has been six years since we’ve heard from the Toronto collective and it sounds like Entire Cities has thrown themselves a party (in a graveyard!) and everyone is invited.
Rock Chapel is a blazing 18 minutes of raw guitars, juicy bass tones, horns, banjos, gang vocals, and other miscellaneous sounds that I can’t decipher. There’s a lot of talk about death, smoking, drinking, and even a sprinkling of paganism – all ingredients for a good party! The contagious recklessness of standout “Real Teen Witches” spills over to the holiday hometown reunion in “Owen Sound” – a song that’s quite possibly the most entertaining ode the city has ever received – and ends with someone threatening to “Call The Cops.”
The second half of this graveyard smash feels like the end of the evening when things get a little slower and a little quieter and you realize that all the honest conversations you’ve been having are really, really dark. “Don’t Ask,” the most country-infused ditty on the record, is a bleak little love song about how destructive going all in for the one you love can be. In the instrumental-less closer “Casket Shopping At Honest Ed’s,” lead singer Simon Borer is the last man standing at this party. In this very bleak but hilarious Toronto-inspired track, Borer insists on forgetting Kensington Market (“It’s only gonna end again”), threatens to camp out on the lawn of former mayor David Miller, scream at the cops, and, of course, go casket shopping at Honest Ed’s.
In case you don’t have any weekend plans yet, here are some as inspired by Entire Cities: Drink beer, think about how life sucks, have fun, and take some time to worship at Rock Chapel.
Top Track: “Real Teen Witches”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)