I wonder if Ottawa-based power trio, The Red Rails, will fondly remember July 2014 as the month the stars aligned for them… You certainly couldn’t blame them; a few notable and exciting things happened for this relatively new band this month. Not only was their debut album released, but they were also selected to perform at Ottawa Bluesfest, and they’re hitting the road July 25th for a tour of Eastern Canada.
The Red Rails are Kim Vincent (lead vocals, guitar), Chris Slaney (bass, backing vocals), and Steve Brogno (drums). Their debut album is “A Living Fiction”, and let me say that this indie and pop music lover was definitely impressed by what I heard from these decidedly rock-influenced guys. The album starts out with “Prisoner”, and, assuming the goal was to show as quickly as possible the musical talents of each member, this was the perfect introduction. Vincent’s vocals are strong throughout the CD, but you can hear the great tone and pitch right away here, even while delivering cutting lyrics with the appropriate amount of acidity. Slaney’s skilled staccato bassline is predominant here too, and drives the song effectively.
The lead off single “On The Line” is another rocker with a chorus that I’ve found hard to get out of my brain. And while it’s a strong track, it’s not even the best on the CD.
“In a Whisper” starts out slower with an almost lilting guitar and solid bassline. Vincent effectively combines falsetto and quasi growl on lyrics like, “I wanna know of your final intentions / Don’t forget that I’m suffering here / How will I know what’s the final direction / I’m a pawn in your critical scheme”.
“Eye On the Wall” is easily my fave track on the CD. Interestingly, it brought to mind elements of Sublime and The Headstones, and even Kurt Cobain on Vincent’s vocals on the bridge. Instrumentally, it’s another song where each of the guys’ talent shines through; the parts where the bass and drum lines match up make it impossible to keep your head and/or feet still. Lyrically very strong as well, whether they meant to or not, they leave no doubt about their Canadian-ness with the line, “We’ve seen the coldest winters, buried in the deepest snow”.
“Save Her Soul” is another of my fave tracks on the CD, and is really 2 songs in 1 with melody changes and excellent harmonies in parts. In my opinion, it’s also the song that best displays Brogno’s percussion skills.
If Quentin Tarantino is reading this, might I suggest “One in the Attack” for a future movie soundtrack? From the first guitar chord, it has that Tarantino vibe – very atmospheric and retro. Vincent’s lead guitar is the star of the show here, but as the song progresses, awesome harmonies come into play. Slaney and Brogno show their stuff as well, proving that when instruments are played well, you only need a guitar, bass, and drums to create a powerful wall of sound.
The Red Rails have been compared to Them Crooked Vultures, Death From Above 1979, and Alice in Chains. And I get these references, but I also heard influences of others as well. Have a listen for yourself as I’m positive anyone with a love of music, especially rock music, will find something to like. I definitely look forward to hearing more from them in the future.
Written by Valerie