Music Review: Heat and Lights - Where In The World

Sometimes the best results come from happy accidents, not big plans. Certainly Fredericton's Tim Walker didn't expect to have a brand-new band, doing a debut album concert this Friday. After all, he already has another popular group with important shows to do this summer, Grand Theft Bus. But here it is, the new six-track extended play, called Where In The World, from the group Walker has dubbed Heat and Lights.

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What happened was that Walker's friend Chris MacLean, of the local band On Vinyl, had bought some recording gear and set up his own home studio. He was looking for a project to work on to hone his engineering skills, and Walker had some songs that weren't earmarked for Grand Theft Bus. And things took off from there. It turned out so good, that the little experiment became a full-fledged release.

In the process, a band was formed. Walker is part of the larger Fredericton music friendship circle, folks that have no problem playing with each other, in different and on-going groups. Grand Theft Bus has members that cross over to Olympic Symphonium, which crosses over to the David Myles Band, etc, etc. When he needed pals to work out these songs in the new studio, they were nearby. Drums were supplied by Andrew Butler of All of Green, the Symphonium's Nick Cobham held down the bass, Brad Perry from Grand Theft Bus brought his Fender Rhodes keyboard, and Dennis Goodwin of both Grand Theft Bus and Olympic Symphonium played lap steel. There are lots of great harmonies from the gang as well, one of the highlights of the release.

Walker brought in six originals, and you can see why they weren't Grand Theft Bus songs, at least in these arrangements. They are tighter, poppier, light and breezy, like some of these nice early summer days we've been enjoying this week. Smile-on-your-face music. Sure, you can hear a little of the Bus in there, and certainly there are elements of Olympic Symphonium as well, the lap steel solos, the harmonies, but overall the folk-pop sound is the driving force here.

The lyrics are direct as well, love songs and such, adding to the easy-breezy feel. There are lots of sing-along choruses, and that's where the group adds on those sweet harmonies. The band has stated one influence is the country-folk rock harmonies of the Eagles and CSN in their heyday, and you can hear that for sure. The track Your Love, with its loping beat and acoustic guitar strumming, could have come straight off the Eagles' On The Border album. And come to think of it, with all these members of different bands on board, it is kind of a Fredericton super-group, much like CSN was back in the day.

More Eagles references: Lead cut Show Me Where To Go reminds me of a more laid-back version of Joe Walsh's hit Life's Been Good, and has pop hit written all over it. It has a classic and simple keyboard line running through it, and some tasteful lead guitar, plus some of those excellent harmonies. It's top ten on my personal radio this summer.

The band is doing one launch show this week, then will be back at it in the fall after commitments to their others bands are over. The show is Friday night, the 7th, at the Cedar Tree Cafe in Fredericton. From the new E.P. Where In The World, here's Heat And Lights, with Show Me Where To Go.

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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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