It’s Grayowl Point’s third annual Throwback Week! The blog is once again looking back at older Canadian albums and connecting them to the musical present. This year, albums released in 2012 or earlier qualify to be examined for Throwback Week. See our past throwback reviews here.
East and west Canada collided with Juno-nominated The Closers, a shared effort between Vancouver’s SonReal (Aaron Hoffman) and Toronto’s Rich Kidd (Ritchie Acheampong). While the album eventually lost out on the award to Classified’s “Inner Ninja,” both performers went on to net another nod a year later. And their one-off flash of lightning—with its energetic back-and-forth—has, at least for me, far outlasted the competition.
Kicking off The Closers with a track called “The Openers” is just a taste of the occasionally self-aware set as Rich Kidd teases SonReal between songs, and “Fuck Yeah” enthusiastically chronicles a messy college party that brings together the very best and worst of boastful lines and pairs them with triumphant cries of the song’s title.
“Put my city on my back like a napsack,” Rich Kidd raps on “Hometown”—an almost romantic tribute to the cities the duo call home that makes for a welcome surprise halfway through the album. The pair show off a few other musical skills and put their own twist on the Canadian habit of singing about the place that made us. That poetic knack for storytelling is carried over into “Control,” as SonReal and Rich Kidd grapple with a total loss of control and the ultimate decision to walk away.
Meanwhile, “Mind All Day” makes for the lone love song, and also sees the pair get back to their antics as they mix longing with blunt desire. “I was going to write some political shit, until I wrote a fucking love song,” SonReal surmizes and the two undercut some of their more explicit lines with the odd nod to how questionable it gets.
“Don’t Stop” is a punchy number that follows the unforgettable “Fuck Yeah” as a well-placed call to “fuck last call” that has the added bonus of shouting out to Nardwuar.
“Slumber” and “Around The Globe” close out The Closers in final set of songs that brings together the confessional/boastful dichotomy that defines the album and ending it—brilliantly—with an argument over a hot tub.
Top Tracks: “Control”; “Don’t Stop”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)