Tag Archives: 2012

The Human Orchestra – “Lip Service”

Some albums can be defined entirely by their lyrics. In the case of Hamilton’s The Human Orchestra, their new EP is easy to explain: “I can’t get you out of my head.” The four-song album is a masterpiece of earworms. These songs are catchy and hypnotic, easy to stick in your head and find a home there. Lip Service is an album to love, cherish and listen to on repeat, and with real diversity and cohesion, The Human Orchestra is a band to go down as a major contributor to Canadian music.

Released in August 2012, Lip Service is fantastic from start to finish. It’s full of sound and talent, with 12 band members rounding out the orchestra and giving the album a diverse and well-rounded power. It’s got everything: horns, banjos, keyboards and guitars, and the pieces all work together to create something strong and interesting without being too overpowering. If anything it’s just cool; you’ll find something new every time you listen and eventually you’ll start making trumpet noises along with the tracks. That’s just how the album works: it seems real and alive, and it’s something you’ll become part of.

Everything about the album is great. The band has put obvious heart into these tracks and each piece is carefully thought out while still natural and passionate. They could be compared to a mix of Arcade Fire and Of Monsters and Men, big sounds with folky,”indie”-like songwriting. One of the standout features of the album is the voice of lead singer JB Reed, whose unique vocals offer a bluesy twang to the songs and create the band’s recognizable sound. Her voice is magic. It’s kind of eerie at times (“The Winter Song”), sassy in others (“Heavy Handed Heart”), and sometimes soft (“In The Middle”). No matter what, it’s fun and easy to sing along with, and that makes for a catchy and loveable album.

Something really needs to be said for the songwriting as well. With so many band members and so many contributions, The Human Orchestra deserves a real tip-of-the-hat for their ability to create such rich tracks and subtle arrangements. They fall somewhere between simple and complicated, seeming effortless until you consider the multiple layers and pieces that make up each song. It’s fantastic, it really is, and it’s definitely worth a listen or two (or fifty). It would be great to hear a full-length album from the band to see what other diversity and sound they have in store, but this is a great introduction to their potential as a major artist.

Lip Service is available on iTunes, BandCamp, Amazon, and pretty well anywhere you look. Follow them on Facebook and wish them luck at the Hamilton Music Awards November 18, where they’re nominated for New Artist/Group of the Year! The Human Orchestra is destined for great things and this album is the first step to take them there.

The Human Orchestra - "Lip Service"

Rend – “No Lines”

Have you ever heard a singer whose voice completely blows you away? It might stop you in your tracks, render you speechless, or even make you cry. This sort of voice is definitely not common, so when we come across a band with a mix of insanely powerful vocals and original songwriting, we know they’re something special.Rend, an incredible new pop-rock band out of Edmonton, brings us everything we’ve been waiting for, and their debut album No Lines is one of the most mind-blowing displays of talent we’ve seen in a while. Rend’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. After the release of No Lines in early 2012, the band quickly became known across the country for their multifaceted sound and enormous talent. The album achieved cross-Canada radio play in no time with their first single, “Hide”, and their growth since then has been even more impressive. No Lines marks the beginning of what will be an incredible journey, and every element of the album is a sign of what’s to come. No Lines is a vocal-driven adventure through music. It has almost everything: technical skill, strong instrumentals, and meaningful lyrics, not to mention truly awesome vocals that show off ridiculous range, power, and emotion. Lead singer Carol-Lynne Quinn is nothing short of remarkable, and her voice is easily one of the most powerful and impressive sounds to come out of Canada in the last decade. She can be compared to superstars likes Kelly Clarkson or Alicia Keys, but with actual songwriting talent and a Canadian flag draped across her shoulders, we’d argue she’s far superior. There are different sounds throughout the album that will appeal to fans of different genres: “Hold On” takes on more bluesy, Alicia Keys-like composition while “Pearl” and “Torn” sound very much like Lily Allen tracks. We also see rock anthems in songs like “Monster”, showing off Quinn’s vocals and the overall rock quality of the band’s sound. At times they sound like Evanescence with vocals like Amy Lee, and with comparisons to rock outfits like Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, they fit into a variety of musical tastes. “Hold On” would fit in perfectly with Zeppelin or Pink Floyd, and adding in a cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper”, even those of us with a preference for ’90s music are satisfied. This entire album is fantastic. It’s partially Quinn’s vocal acrobatics that make the album stand out, but the guitar hooks, percussion, piano, and soul lead to an overall electric experience that can’t be missed. To sample the album, check out Rend’s website, YouTube, or Facebook, and definitely buy the album on iTunes. This is an album (and a band) unlike any other, and with your support and love, they’ll get to the top. Rend will blow you away: just give them a try.

Rend - "No Lines"