It’s hard to look past the cleverness of Vic Horvath’s album title West Coast Reign. It is probably simply a nod to their current life in Victoria but I am also left thinking about the west coast rain.
I live in Toronto so I’m not intimately familiar with the west coast rain but I can imagine (and I’ve been told) that the multi-day grey skies and drizzle in the winter is quite taxing and the chill that accompanies it is nearly unshakeable. So on the standout opener “Shiny Shotguns,” when Horvath sings, “I get caught in the west coast reign/I get so lonesome I go insane/capitalism braiding daisy chains,” they are not only fighting against the ruling class but standing outside in the pouring rain.
But unlike winter west coast rain, West Coast Reign is quite warm and inviting as Horvath mixes folk, country, and bluesy sounds together. On the aforementioned opener “Shiny Shotguns,” a gently picked guitar dances nicely with Horvath’s strong, textured vocals and “Pistol and Rye” has a playful bop to it and the song could be played at a nice saloon when brawls rarely happen.
Magic is also afoot on West Coast Reign: “Black Magic Tradition” has an eerie vibe about it as the percussion changes the songs mood from menacing to contemplative as new ingredients are added to the cauldron and on the standout “Sow it in Spells,” Horvath sounds like they are skipping along the streets of Victoria, the sun finally out, with joy in their heart.
Top Tracks: “Shiny Shotguns”; “Sow it in Spells”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)