reviewed by Jack Derricourt
“You have to appreciate those in your life.”
-Old and Weird
There’s a lot of new music out there. Sometimes it can take a while to make your way back to that band you love. You shuffle the 45s and find a single you haven’t listened to in a while. You avoid a hard drive crash and find a renewed pleasure in scrolling through the mp3s you’ve accumulated over the lifetime of your computer, relishing in some of your vintage tastes. A friend makes a new mix for you, and you hear a track that rekindles that light that went up like a Canada Day firework in your heart when you first heard its sound.
I’m lucky that the Grayowl mojo wire of submissions allows me to be lazy; often enough, my favourite bands are the ones that diligently submit to us, so I get to hear their offerings when they’re freshly pressed and ready to be regaled. And so it is with Old and Weird of Halifax, NS. Last time I listened to these folks was at NXNE two years back — and not out of neglect, but due to the sheer, constant nature of the flow of music in my life.
Everything I always loved about Old and Weird is present to be witnessed on O It’s You…Through The Door…Coolness of One…Square Shape of Another’s — alongside a new adoration for the ludicrous album name. The guitars glitter and shine when they’re not attacking each other like amassing, territorial birds. Drums of smooth, reassuring regularity are the underclass of the tracks, always there, hosting the blissful histrionics above. Vocals twine in big, long phrases, that are gorgeously clotted — especially on “You Idiots Talked Me Into This.”
What I enjoyed the most on this thoughtful release was how rich the stories can be while abstract barriers remain, distancing the audience from the crux of the discussion at play. “Comme C’est Deluxe” is a tender commentary on marriage and the self-evaluation that occurs in relation to that social norm, yet the idiom keeps the listener at arm’s length — you, as a listener, will not be a part of the entire conversation being taken up. This is an honest form of songwriting. Not dumbing down the content of the world to make it fit within the song, but trimming out a segment of a conversation, out of context, and replicating it in art. “Welcome To My Home Suzanne Vega” and “Welcome To My Home New Fries” probably replicate this effect as well, but I don’t want to read too deeply into such wicked tunes.
I missed Old and Weird playing in the luxurious, Lynchian confines of Double Double Land here in Toronto last month — the only venue where you can listen to punk rock while the smell of freshly baked muffins wafts up from the bakery below. But I’m not sad. The jagged Halifax tracks assembled on OIYTTDCOOSSOA will keep me satisfied until this solid group comes knocking on the neighbourhood door again. If you have to listen to any album with an absurdly long title this summer, it should be this one!
Top Tracks: “You Idiots Talked Me Into This” ; “Comme C’est Deluxe”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)