ARKELLS – High Noon (2014 Universal)
Thank rock and roll for new bands like the Arkells! I’ve been happily enjoying their singles for years. I really fell in love when I saw the Hamilton band open the 2017 NHL Awards. A starstruck Max Kerman (vocals) gleefully fist-bumped with Wayne Gretzky. I knew I had to get one of their albums. On vinyl! I chose their 2014 release High Noon to be my first Arkells, for its unforgettable single “Leather Jacket”.
High Noon was a sound choice. “Leather Jacket” has been an earworm for a long time. High Noon also has another sterling single, “Come to Light”. Its basis is similar to Bowie’s “Modern Love”. While there is no mistaking the year, the Arkells put a slick 80s slant on these songs. Whether it’s in the beats or the keyboards, there is a love of 1980s rock here on High Noon.
There are numerous highlights and few forgettable ones. Album opener “Fake Money” has a strong piano riff, a classic U2 vibe, and an anti-corporate attitude. One of the catchiest, more summer-y fun tracks is ironically “Cynical Bastards”. Good time upbeat rock with solid beats to shake your butt to! “11:11” is primed for dancing . Everyone will pick out their own favourites, because there aren’t any poor songs on this wax. Check out “Crawling Through the Window” for a slower tune with all the integrity intact, or the strange Disco hop of “Systematic”.
A band can make or break based on the lead singer. I really like the expressive and sincere singing style of Max Kerman. He stands out from first listen. It’s hard to say exactly what makes him stand out, but he certainly does. A band to watch.