The Dusty Jackets, one of the latest pop-punk bands to grace Montreal’s indie scene, have recently released their first recording, the much anticipated self-titled EP, The Dusty Jackets. The band is comprised of four “Dusty Jackets”: Anthony “Bruiser” Muro on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Pavlo Haikalis on lead guitar, Jordan Larocque on bass, and Alexandre Brosseau on drums. What it is to be a “Dusty Jacket” is a bit elusive, but what is clear is the dedication to unchained creativity displayed by these suburban kids finding their voices in the underground world of the city.
Right off the bat I have to say that the biggest downside of the EP is the fact that the quality of the recordings just isn’t there. The band’s Facebook page lists PHG Productions as their record label, but with the exception of a vague post that gave me the impression that they actually spent the previous year building the studio themselves, I wasn’t able to find any more info about the label online. I’m not sure if it is the mixing, or the levels, or what – I’m not well versed in the process – but it just isn’t great quality, and not the garage, DIY-type shitty recording that has worked well for decades. You simply can’t listen to the tracks as loud as you’d like to, and as loud as rock should be played. Alas, since this has nothing to do with the actual content of the album, I tried my best not to let it affect my opinion of the music itself.
The Dusty Jackets is short, granted, but it does not contain a heck of a lot of diversity throughout its seven tracks. There are classic moments of charged and angst-driven singing, heavy hitting but not overly daring percussion, and the odd catchy riff that pique my interest, but really no moments that make me feel as if I am perhaps being unfair in my opinion that it is just, well, mediocre. I really hate saying this about the product of other people’s creative energy, for one thing because it’s rarely taken as it should be – with a grain of salt and as constructive criticism – and also because, quite frankly, music preference is relative. But in this case, it is the truth.
From the opening track “Days of Old,” to the fifth track “Self Appointed Kings,” the chords, the tempo, and the vibe of each song are the same, leaving a lack of desire to say much about them. There is, however, a light at the end of the tunnel, and it comes in the form of the final track, the aptly titled “Final Ride.” To put it simply, this song is great. Completely different from the other six songs, it is the only one to begin with acoustic guitar, giving it a not quite ska, not quite surf-rock, western-style vibe. It has not one but two awesome and perfectly placed guitar solos, and Muro’s vocals, that previously didn’t do anything for me, are one of the key elements that make this track the best on the album. If The Dusty Jackets had opened with this track, and the rest had followed suit, it would be a completely different album.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson