FUTURE FLIGHT is based out of Montreal, yet their soulful, funky sound boasts an impressive international make-up. Though Nadia Bashalani (vocals) and Andrew Joncas (guitars) both hail from Montreal and have known one another since high school, Rémy Saminadin (drums) was born in Guadalupe and studied music in Lyon, France, while bassist Dónal Gill was born into a musical family in Ireland. The group is backed by Vincent Stephen-Ong (nord, saxophone) and Fern Danghera (congas, shakers). Before listening, I had no guess as to what this global kaleidoscope might sound like, but awesome seventies revival certainly wasn’t the first thing to comes to mind. Thankfully, you can’t always be right…
Their first self-titled EP with Tusknado Records, FUTURE FLIGHT was released December, 2015 and recorded and mixed at Breakglass Studios, Montreal. Funded in part by FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings) – a joint project dedicated to independent Canadian musicians that has assisted other wicked Canadian artists such as BADBADNOTGOOD, Blue Rodeo, Sam Roberts and Timber Timbre – the five bluesy tracks that make up FUTURE FLIGHT launch the band into a realm entirely on par with their independent counter-parts.
FUTURE FLIGHT opens with “Keep On Trying,” a track that sets the pace of the album and introduces the prominence of Bashalani’s voice, which is all kinds of sultry. The first impressions that you get of FUTURE FLIGHT are how tight they play as a band. The chemistry between Bashalani’s crooning and Joncas’ classic solos, combined with all of the necessary elements that make blues rock an undying favourite, blend together in a manner that reminds me of the kinds of sounds you might be lucky enough to stumble upon in the depths of Memphis.
The second track, “Trouble With My Heart,” is a slower number that, laced by Gill’s effervescent bass, continues to showcase the range of Bashalani’s voice and the band’s ability to match her intensity without overpowering her. The up-tempo “Running” is more of a “big-band” type of sound, and through it and the next track “Open Arms,” the chemistry of FUTURE FLIGHT that I keep harping on is only further nailed down by Stephen-Ong’s sax playing. If you harboured doubts on my opinion of FUTURE FLIGHT thus far, the last track “Toy Doll” is by far my favourite. Bashalani’s lyrics are kick-ass and sassy, and Joncas’ solos show that he is capable of the kinds of sounds characteristic of legendary blues studio guitarist Derek Trucks. However, it is the combination of the entire band that make this track so solid.
While it may be that FUTURE FLIGHT’s EP embodies almost everything that I love about music, I think you would be hard pressed to find one person in their right mind who could not appreciate their sound. If nothing else, FUTURE FLIGHT makes for the perfect record to listen to anytime you want to be reminded that wicked music is still being made in your backyard. Not only does FUTURE FLIGHT hint at the potential of an unforgettable live performance, it promises an incredibly bright future (no pun intended) for this eclectic band.
Written by Jordan Hodgins
*edited by Kate Erickson