â€œI donâ€™t need no fucks telling me how to listen to a record.â€ So begins Grand Prix, the sophomore release from Charlottetown, PEIâ€™s North Lakes and a fantastic collection of tracks that has the potential to be one of the yearâ€™s best albums. Itâ€™s a beachy-garage-pop explosion of rock, showing us in eight tracks what great music sounds like and why we need to hear it for ourselves.
Released in May 2012 Grand Prix is a follow-up to North Lakesâ€™s award-winning debut album, Cobra. The new album includes everything good about the bandâ€™s sound: fresh, raw, and full of fantastic retro flavour. Itâ€™s a real throwback to the rock â€˜nâ€™ roll of the â€˜50s and â€˜60s, the same bouncy, toe-tapping groove but with extra distortion and a bit more colour. Think of The Strokes meets The Beatles, a distorted garage-rock soundtrack to a party on the beach. It really would be perfect at the cottage or the beach, and from the opener â€œCrumbling Diceâ€ to the sexy closing track â€œVixenâ€ the album creates a mood of totally positive energy. Itâ€™s full of fun and hope, and for that, the album is worthy of repeated listens and a lifetime of praise.
From start to finish, Grand Prix is chock-full of great beats, strong vocals, and perfectly timed guitar, and the chemistry and interaction between guitars and percussion are really powerful in songs like â€œCopernicus, Copernicusâ€ and â€œBaptism in Burgundyâ€. They balance well, and itâ€™s clear from the blend of sounds and the equality between all forces that this album is a partnership and a real group effort, nothing forced or unnatural about it.
This balance is shown in the relationship between long sustained notes on guitar and the faster-paced beating of the drums: like a perfect couple, the instrumental pieces create a solid partnership and one of those relationships that seems perfectly natural and destined. They complement each other perfectly and in doing so give birth to a near-perfect album. There are also bursts of energy throughout the album (â€œHands-off Directorâ€, for example) that will send you into a dancing frenzy and rounding out the album with some diversity.
Lead vocalist Nathan Gill shows real chops and a â€˜50s influence in tracks like the dancey â€œAvalancheâ€, as he sings â€œgotta take a ch-ch-ch-chanceâ€ like a young Buddy Holly. This feeling creates an album that is full of nostalgia and completely unisolated. It fits in everywhere, and to music fans everywhere this is a huge plus. Listen to the lyrics, too: they’re clever and poetic, and like the songs on the band’s first release are worth listening to and enjoying over and over.
Check out and buy Grand Prix on iTunes! This album is too good to not hear, and you need to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the much-needed updates and info. For those who like garage-rock, North Lakes is one of the best Canadian bands around and as they spread west from PEI and put their music in the hands and hearts of music lovers theyâ€™re bound to go far and become huge. Do as they say and go listen to North Lakes for yourself. Their storyâ€™s in their music and you donâ€™t need anyone to tell you how to hear it.