It’s a rare thing to come across a debut as finely polished as Bill Jr Jr’s Volumes. The new band, out of East Vancouver, hardly sounds like they’re the amateurs they profess to be. Frontman and lyricist Russell Gendron penned the collection of six songs—a frolicking mix that plays off Gendron’s smokey vocals and the dancing ambiance.
“Drumheller” eases into the EP, a lone guitar creaking as Gendron gently chimes along—that is until the song ramps up, percussions building and trumpets gliding in as Emily Huynh sighs beatifically with the song’s arching turn. The crossing of indie folk with classic dancing melodies soars spectacularly in “Shimmer,” Gendron cooing while Zak Youseff charms with each flourish—pushing you into a shoulder shimmy and then just a little further before the song tapers out.
It’s slower on “Practice” as Gendron and Huynh sync up for a rocking, forlorn bad vacation. Still, the guitar and bass slap along infectiously, making this tale of heartbreak all that much catchier for its two-step kicks. It’s the start of a mellow interlude, where Gendron plays with pace and displays an impressive sense of rhythm as his games prove all the more magnetic.
And while Volumes is in its soul a folk album—dabbling in some western rolls—there’s even a touch of grunge as “Paulie” notches things down just a little bit more, evoking darkened bars and sparsely lit stages as a band sways back and forth to the bass.
But the infectious, dancing melodies return one final time for “Neighbours,” book-ending an all-too-brief sample that attracts from the very first notes, and proves more alluring with each listen.
Top Track: “Shimmer”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)