MUSIC REVIEW: ENGLISH WORDS - RED POTION

Hey, clubsters, it's a good weekend to get out for a show, especially if you like some strong, danceable grooves in smart songs. Charlottetown's English Words are in the province, playing tonight (Friday) at Pepper's Pub in Saint John, and then Saturday the 17th at The Capitol in Fredericton. These are launch shows for their new, debut album, called Red Potion. The five-piece band have been around a bit, and have built a solid reputation for their 80's influenced electronic pop. There's lots of synth, mixed with regular band instruments, to make a solid blend of electronic and rock. Layered with reverb and echo, the tunes sound like refugees from the heyday of the original British synth boom, your Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark, etc., except that it's a much more seemless concept these days. Effects, samples, beats, it's all added on with much more thought towards a whole production.

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The album features a good mix of driving, up-beat rockers, like a happy Joy Division, and softer, reflective dreamscapes. But even the slow ones have a groove, and will keep you on the floor. Plus, there's some interesting words going on, repeatable hooks: "Here's a bad joke and you won't laugh." The vocoder-style opening and chorus of People I Love is downright beautiful: "With my friends, with the people I love, oh yeah." English Words are a fine example of how the promise of 80's New Wave and synth groups, so sadly blown on the likes of Duran Duran that followed, has now blossomed anew in the past couple of years.

Monctonians, fear not, you just have to wait a couple of more weeks. The band will bring the launch show for Red Potion to the Tide and Boar on Dec. 1.

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About Bob Mersereau

Rockin' BobBob 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).

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