“One Million Stars” starts the EP with a sharp, square wave synthesizer riffing above a funky bass line, and a clean guitar arpeggio that immediately grabbed my attention thanks to the syncopation created by those colliding riffs. It’s a good analogy for the song that seems to constantly evolve through different parts, yet retain a solid, head-bobbing rhythm. The song’s danceable beat, acoustic guitar playing, and the generally optimistic pop vibe is like a collage of Arcade Fire and Bryan Adams. Near the ending of the song, it collapses with a blissfully ambient part showcasing beautiful reverbs, chimes, and some yodeling. The track returns to its pop power for the outro, ending a solid first song on an EP that already shows promise. The first track is followed by “Everything is Blue,” a song that totally sounds like something Stereophonics would have put out. Not to say they cloned a song, but the similarities in both, the vocal and musical textures, are striking. The chorus on this one is a winner too, ending on a melancholic last note before diving back to the verse. Beautifully layered harmonies, effects on the guitars and synthesizers, and expert production also draws a comparison to Beck’s smoother stuff combined with Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi’s Rome.
Synthesizers flood in, and a steady drum beat lays the foundation for a storytelling rock song called, “July 13,” that is launched with a breathy, “July 13, I was leaving shore…” sung above those classic ‘cowboy’ (open) chords. Playing at many open mics around Montréal has exposed me to a lot of Bruce Springsteen’s music, and this song feels like it could fit right into his set list. What this band does well is layer different melodies together; that shone through on this song’s bridge. The sporadic lead guitar notes and a xylophone complemented the song perfectly, and kept me engaged in the music. One Million Stars ends with “Any Day Now,” a tune that’s got a gospel sunset in Motown vibe: a blues structure played with a Hammond organ, a slide guitar, walking basslines, swinging drums, accompanied by twangy harmonized vocals singing about taking trains, not missing streetlights blinking, and about how “any day could be my leaving.” It was a great closer to this lush sounding EP, and, though, it may be a short record, that just means there’s more to come.
Written by Dave Tone
*edited by Danielle Kenedy