Excellently produced and bursting at the seams with melodic vocals and heart-stopping guitar carnage, The Respectables’ new LP The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll and the video for its star song of the same name are a pair of unmissable releases for indie rock disciples in Canada and abroad. The music video for the title track challenges us to catch the band’s contagious, fretwork-induced fever, and though only a taste of what the record contains in its entirety, it’s more than enough to get unfamiliar viewers hooked on the addictive country/rock meld that the band has made their own. This is a game-changer for The Respectables, and possibly the underrated scene that gave them their start.
Pop hooks find themselves framed by gargantuan riffs in the first half of The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll, with the songs “That Girl,” “Give Some” and the title track getting our hearts pumping right out of the gate. The patient prose executed from behind the microphone is always at the center of our attention, but that’s not because it’s the only striking element being vaulted in our direction. From the basslines to the textured finish on the guitar licks, The Respectables put every subtle detail of their musical profile on overdrive in these tracks, with marvelous consequences.
Even when the tempo slows down in the latter half of the record in songs like “As Good as Love Gets,” “Oasis” and “Highway 20,” the urgency in the band’s play is still present in the music and, to a certain extent, the emotion being conveyed in the lyrics. Sure, “Mardi Gras” and “18 Wheeler” aren’t the grizzly guitar jams that the title track and “Give Some” are, but to say that they’re any less riddled with color and panache would be a lie of near-criminal proportions.
It’s a nice added bonus that The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll features such a balanced and even-keeled mix. Every instrument comprising the musical fabric of tracks like “That Girl” and “Wheel in My Hand” is flexing some seriously intimidating muscle both here and throughout the album, but it’s important to note that The Respectables appear to go out of their way to avoid the pitfalls associated with an instrumentally overindulgent setlist. They’re playing like the smart and seasoned veterans that they are in this record, and from where I sit, their younger rock ‘n’ roll brethren would be wise to follow the excellent example they set in these songs.
Whether you’ve been following The Respectables since day one or are in fact just discovering their sultry sound for the first time now, you need to get ahold of The Power of Rock ‘N’ Roll. In the six months that have passed since first debuting to widespread adulation and excitement from both fans and the indie music media, this record has taken on an especially significant place in the hierarchy of new Canadian music. It’s a stellar offering from a band that has nothing left to prove, and while I’ve yet to hear a Respectables album that I didn’t like, they’re playing harder than ever in these eleven tuneful tracks.