Bluegrass marries Indie Rock

Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • Photo credit: Heather Pollock

    Photo credit: Heather Pollock

I miss my heart, oh I miss my heart” whines or rather sings the Strumbellas on their debut album in a rather cheerful manner that can lift your mood up a notch though the lyrics could come across melancholic. The Strumbellas have sure turned up the heat for other indie-folk covens in the country with this debut. Only few manage to capture such honesty on debut albums and actually succeed in pulling off a record of this intensity.

The Strumbellas, a band that takes a different approach to their dish of indie folk is about to release their cumulative efforts in album format in late February, 2012. The days spent in the rehearsal room, the poison that burnt the throats and the harsh nights at the pub playing for small crowds are all about to pay off for this band. The album “My Father and the Hunter” packs a punch and a wide pallet of everything. Songs that you could sing along to at the local pub: check; songs for that aching heart: check; songs to drown your sorrow: check; songs to say “Dad I love you”: check. The albums got it all. But that’s not all they have to offer. It’s got emotion and a lot of it. The album takes indie rock of the post garage rock era, shreds off the harsh abrasive guitar distortion and adds a dose of folk/bluegrass for that union of the arena filling musicianship.

The album displays the bands ability and mastery of the instruments and each member, along with his/her instrument, adds a little bit of personality to the music which shines through on repeated listening, making you form a certain bond with the band and the music. What makes this record special? Well, the emotion carried by the music put together with the lyrics and the voice of Simon Ward could be overwhelmingly heavy for the average person who knows well the tragedies, smiles, frowns and sighs of everyday life. This is music from people who know pain, sadness, love and life for people who know the same. It is this honesty and the direct and poetic nature of the lyrics that stand out and instantly entices the listener. Check out the following lyrics:“I lost my father to the hands of Jesus, breaks my heart dad you won’t meet my son, and I get so scared dad that I’ll be just like you, spend my life as a loaded gun.” Need I say more about their lyrics? Hope not. In any case I highly recommend Lakes, Sheriff, Left for Dead and Sailor’s Blues to anybody who likes good music.

There are songs that are catchy and rather fast-paced to cheer you blithely and a bunch of slowed down beats you could easily sit back and unwind to on a lazy Sunday evening. The album is a promising start for the Strumbellas. With its heavy emotion, beautiful lyrical penmanship and the feverishly addictive guitar strums and music make for a brilliant debut; a must own for any fan of home grown indie-folk. With all of that being said, I suggest that you check them out later this month when they make an appearance on 14th March 2012 at the University Centre courtyard. After all it’s free and may help you take some time off between classes.

Chanditha Priyanatha is a student at the University of Guelph and a dedicated volunteer at thecannon.ca

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