reviewed by Michael Thomas
Without a doubt, one of the best parts of a good rock n’roll song is the gang vocals, the choruses you can shout at the top of your lungs. Ottawa’s Prayer Wheels take this a step further, actually referring to themselves as “choir-rock” and emphasizing their many voices with a backdrop of huge guitars and percussion.
It’s no surprise or coincidence that I was reminded of the work of Those Gulls, who also go for the emotional gut-punch with their proud rock sound—Prayer Wheels are on the same record label and share a few band members.
On the Spring EP, the band is all about efficiency. Just four songs, all between two and three minutes, and most with just a few lines for lyrics. These are songs to shout, songs to pump your fists to, songs that quickly get trapped in your head.
The opener “Cavalier,” perhaps the height of the band’s “good times” vibe features just these lines: “One more good time/One more last time/One more third time/Let’s go.” With just those words, some agile electric guitar and thunderous percussion. Similarly, “Seesaw Sequence” sees the band singing “Your whole life/An escape act/Time and again,” but with a grungier vibe to emphasize the gloom of the dissatisfaction we face with ourselves and our lives on a daily basis.
Then there’s “Charlatan,” which sees more vocals and detailing what seems to be a breakdown of communication in a relationship. The guitars are a bit calmer during the verses, but move much louder as the group sings “We can’t let this happen again/We won’t let this happen again.”
Finally, “Cormorant” works in a quote from Farenheit 451 among the group’s guitars, before the band collectively sings “Start Over.”
Overall the Spring EP seems to be about doubt and renewal. We all face problems in our life, but it’s never too late to start over.
Top Track: “Cavalier”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)