Last year I donned my Weird Canada cap to review the self-titled debut from Montreal purveyors of fuzz, Heathers. I also took that chance to reference the 80s, cult classic, movie Heathers because how could I not? Strange Allies is a three song follow-up that immediately picks up where Heathers left off, with sweetened chaotic grungy rock sounds. And to quote JD (last movie reference, I promise), “Chaos is great! Chaos is what killed the dinosaurs, darling.”
To open their EP, Heathers take us to (science fiction Queen) Ursula K. Le Guin’s fictional world of “Gethen” from her novel The Left Hand of Darkness. The thrashing guitar blasts the track to new worlds as the band pay homage to Guin’s novel – particularly applauding Guin’s progressive views on gender through the line “gender is just a guise” – while describing a relationship IRL. In the following song, the many heads of “The Hydra” swing between ominous sounding politically-charged questions like, “will he save us?” and messy outbursts of noise built on frustration and worry.
Amongst their entire collection of tracks, Heathers sneak in some gentle moments but Strange Allies’ third track “Breaker” is Heathers, although briefly, at their softest. Be sure though, this softness is still full of strength. Amongst more stripped down instrumentals, we hear this plea repeated a few times, “hold me back before I begin.” It’s a very emotional moment that soon dissolves into the band letting loose on their respective instruments and letting you know that this holding back didn’t work out so well.
Top Track: “Breaker”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)