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The Bends – “Through Looking-Glass Houses”

There are a lot of great albums out there, and the Canadian music scene is a big pond full of fish. With so much competition, how do independent bands stand out? It takes a ton of talent, lots of energy, and a devoted army of fans to push them up above the rest. Lucky enough to have all three (and then some!) are The Bends, an enormously popular and brilliantly talented band out of St. Catharines, Ontario. They’re well-known in these parts, and with a new album coming out August 25 and a whole lot of time left to do even more, these fish will be hard to catch.

The Bends are a nifty young group with surprising talent and really cool style. While still fresh and fun, their professionalism and seemingly effortless sound show a lot of maturity and suggest they’ve been around a while. In some ways they have: the band formed almost four years ago and have been developing their sound ever since. Would it shock you to learn they’ve only JUST graduated high school? This is almost upsetting! The amount of talent these guys have is almost unnatural, and in their new album, Through Looking-Glass Houses, they show what they’re made of and what they have to offer.

Overall the album is fantastic. The 11 tracks fly by with different beats and moods, crossing genres and showing some good diversity. There are hints of Weezer, The Killers, The Strokes, and The Beatles peppered throughout the album, and with strong technical skills, great songwriting, and really catchy beats and riffs, the album has a lot to love.

Showing off a slightly heavier and trippy side of The Bends’ sound, the instrumental introduction gives an interesting taste of what’s to come. There is an immediate shift in mood as the album transitions into the second track, “Spit Curl”, one of the more bouncy and fast-paced songs on the album. The energy doesn’t stop here, though; the remaining tracks are equally fun and dancey, and the nonstop spirit is totally refreshing. “Something About You” provides something dancers can go nuts to, as does the funk-infused “Chicken n Rice”. It’s also nice to see some more variety in the somewhat psychedelic “That We’re Not” and less poppy “Isn’t It Strange”, showing the band’s ability to diversify and create different sounds.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s best about The Bends: the vocals are fantastic, the guitars, bass, and percussion are all strong and smooth, and the incorporation of other instruments (horns, cello, ukulele?) all add to the band’s great sound. Through Looking-Glass Houses is an album that will really get you moving and by showing off all their finer qualities, The Bends have created something really cool. They’ve worked hard on this album, and you can tell.

This isn’t their first album and it will hopefully not be their last: the band’s now on hiatus as the members all head off to university, but maybe with some luck and convincing they won’t be gone for long. The album is being officially released at The Mansion House in St. Catharines on August 25, and fans of the band will definitely want to see them before they leave for school. Check out the band’s website for more info and news, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned for their return!

The Bends - "Through Looking-Glass Houses"