MUSIC REVIEW: THE TOWN HEROES - SUNDAY MOVIES

Sometimes playing in a minimalist configuration, just a couple of musicians, is an exercise in stripping back the sound, getting simple and direct. For Halifax's The Town Heroes, it's the opposite; they are showing just how full two guys can sound, live and in the studio. In fact, Mike Ryan (guitar, vocals) and Bruce Gillis (drums) do such a grand job at it, you never think about the numbers. Instead, it's crunch and pop, that wonderful blend that's been the hallmark of Halifax since the early 90's. In the Heroes' case, Ryan's vocals handle the tuneful melodies, his guitar takes the distorted chords, and Gillis pushes everything along, filling in where Ryan isn't.

photo_sidebar.jpg
Lead track New York City is a fun, quick (1'47") and quirky trip to the Big Apple, little guys with big eyes, ready to take on the world. Berlin Wall is heavier, a deep metal thump over pounding drums. Laser Eyes gets a little ghostly, but keeps the big riffing from Ryan. They can get quieter though; Cambridge even has hand-claps, back-up vocals, and a soft lead vocal. And Bulletproof is full of moody moments, only occasionally shot through by jabs of guitar, and rolling, deep drums.

The deeper you go into the album, the more examples you find where the pair aren't simply relying on volume to get them through. Ryan's a confident vocalist who can go into soft passages and let the lyrics and vocal emotion take over. Gillis has a delicate touch when needed, some nifty little stick tricks, and the ability to come in around the words. The Town Heroes don't seem like they're trying to get a sound with the two-piece approach. Instead, it's that they already had enough of it with just the two.

more »

Latest East Coast Music Reviews

Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Tomato/Tomato top the awards nominations for Music NB
Sep 21, 1:15 PM

Saint John folk duo Tomato/Tomato lead the way in this year's nominations for Music New Brunswick awards. The husband-and-wife team has grabbed six nominations, including those for Album of the Year, Group Recording of the Year and Song of the... more »

 Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Hot Toddy reunion a Harvest highlight
Sep 20, 6:05 PM

On stage at Fredericton's Playhouse on Saturday, the members of Hot Toddy had more to share than just music. Bass player Tom Easley had brought along a band tour journal that had been kept in the van from 2001-2003, full... more »

Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Samantha Martin brings exciting blues-gospel vocals to Harvest Fest
Sep 18, 3:58 PM

The Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival is well-known for introducing new, exciting acts to the East Coast that wouldn't normally tour in this area.  They might be from Los Angeles or New Orleans, or some of the best Canadian groups... more »

Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Steve Hill brings Juno-winning, one-man band to Harvest
Sep 17, 3:58 PM

As the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival celebrates its 25th year, several favourite acts from the past have been invited back, including some that haven't been around for quite awhile. Even though he lives in Montreal, this year's Juno Award-winning... more »

EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
EARTHBOUND TRIO launches new album at Harvest gig
Sep 16, 3:51 PM

How busy is Fredericton during Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival week? It's delaying some Federal government work, that's how busy. A friend of mine, a government employee from another city, e-mailed me a couple of weeks ago to say she... more »

Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Amy Helm continuing Dad Levon's legacy at Harvest fest
Sep 15, 3:06 PM

It was a Harvest show that went down as a classic for the people crowding in the Blues tent in 2011. Levon Helm and his great big 13-piece band rolled into Fredericton for the jazz and blues festival, and stole... more »

View all reviews for September 2015 »

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).

Share this review