Fri, Apr 20, 2012.
These relative newcomers from Newfoundland were one of the bands I got to check out for the first time at the Moncton ECMA's. It turns out I wasn't seeing the usual show, as it was an acoustic appearance on the SpinCount stage, but it certainly impressed me. Then one of the guys did a quick apology about it, saying "Oh, that was our first time doing that." Could've fooled me. Now that I've heard their debut album, I understand what he meant.
Acoustic is just one of the things the group does, in one of your more varied discs imaginable. They go from a Velvets-Wilco rock (Election Day) to a vaudville-ragtime send-up on Treading Water. There are lots of acoustic moments throughout, but some strutting tub-thumpers, too. Sally Ann is a tale about that iconic thrift store, which starts out all glam, and then gets slow and serious in the middle section, as Chris Picco does his best spoken-word Lou Reed in the middle, except instead of Waiting For The Man, he was waiting for the clerk with his last three bucks. Ya, there's some music with a wink going on here.
As a lyricist, Picco can be a dark fellow, with a punches thrown along the way. He's a keen observer, describing the scenes and streets and folks, a song such as He Doesn't Stare Into The Sun becoming a Kinks-like domestic tale. So, obviously lots of classic reference points happening in this band's music, but it is so varied, you never know where they're going. That's okay, with these guys it's always an interesting street you'll go down.
Catch the Long Distance Runners on tour in N.B. on Tuesday, April 24 at the Cedar Tree in Fredericton and April 25 at Plan B in Moncton.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).