So far, 2017 has been a great year of music. The big bands have been on point with their releases but it has also been a wonderful year for independent bands. None more so than Montreal-based Still Flux who released their second studio album Habits and Dreams in June 2017. This record combines the best elements of rock, without being too self-indulgent, with elements of pop, without being too cheesy.
The same way that proper production can create unity in a record, a good album title can foreshadow what is in store for the listener and unify the tracks with a theme or message. This album does just that and with a great title. Habits and Dreams refers to the intro track, “Habits,” and the outro “Dreams,” but also highlights the many themes found within the lyrics.
The smooth crescendo of “Habits,” as well as the wonderfully played viola parts (you thought it was a violin, right? Admit it!) add to the intensity that will immediately follow and sustain for the rest of the album until “Dreams” takes you back down.
What are the standout songs for me? Well, they’re all pretty good, I admit, but a few of them stood out.
My favourite track is “Come with me,” the second to last song of the album. In fact, if it didn’t transition so smoothly into the outro, I would say that putting such a strong tune so close to the end was a mistake. However, the concept of the album imperatively places this song in this spot so how can I argue with that? It is fast, funky, and incredibly catchy!
Another highlight is “Burning On” which, in my opinion, is a very good example the band’s general sound. High-energy verses, catchy choruses, vocal exchanges between John Castillo (vocals and guitar) and David Hernon (Drums, backup vocals) as well as tip-top musical performances from everyone.
Throughout this album, Johnny Syriani, on lead guitar, alternates easily between blistering solos as well as simple catchy melodic riffs that complement the vocals and overall feel of the song. Luke Winer on bass has obviously mastered his instrument. It is easy for over-zealous bassists to overstep their boundaries, get out of the pocket, and step on everyone’s toes trying to show off. Luke certainly stands out as a talented bassist but neither his playing nor his tone take away from the groove of the song and other musicians.
David Hernon, who I already mentioned as a talented vocalist, stands out that much more as a fantastic drummer. Although his beats are quite busy, at no point do you feel that the complexity get in the way of the ease of listening to the songs. John Castillo, on main vocals and rhythm guitar, keeps the band together throughout the varying styles of each song. Whether screaming at the top of his lungs, flirting with falsetto or simply being melodic, he is the spindle around which this record spins.
Check them out and you can comment below what you think!
Written by Mathieu Cousineau
*edited by Danielle Kenedy