The latest Friday morning commute to the office was delayed due to yet another ‘incident ahead’ on the highway, so whilst struggling to maintain a 5mph average speed (at best, it seemed), I turned to my trusty MP3 player and decided to try something new. I rotated the album selection dial while focusing my attention to the traffic chaos, and stopped randomly (Russian Roulette style) to select an album to listen to.
Hitting the play button, the wonderful introduction to “Pretty Respectable” by The Mounties filled the airwaves within the confines of my vehicle. It had been quite a while since I had listened to this 2014 project by Hawksley Workman et al., and I was immediately reminded of just how cutting edge “Thrash Rock Legacy” was upon its release.
The opening track is followed in succession by the radio-friendly hits “Headphones” and “Tokyo Summer,” which further reinforced my notion of how wonderful this collaboration between Workman, Steve Bays, and Ryan Dahle proved to be. Many current Canadian indie-rock artists have recently embraced the 1980s synthesizer influence, but “Tokyo Summer” was clearly way ahead of this trend, mixing a retro-synth back track to a thoroughly modern indie-rock vibe.
The Mounties refuse to let off the gas pedal (while my foot coincidentally remained obliged to rest on the brake pedal) as the album progresses. “If This Dance Catches On” provides some timeless rock-riffs that had me tapping the steering wheel in time to the beat. I had forgotten about the wonderful piano and guitar solo that takes this song to a different level, before the vocals and brash riffs return to round out the 6:23 piece of pure rock-theater. The musical pleasure continues with “The Twig and the Tree,” and its ‘old-school’ reggae beat that always brings the classic “Eton Rifles” by The Jam to mind.
Retro vibes would continue as traffic chaos transformed back to regular highway speed, with notable tracks such as “Minimum Effort” and “Edible Cannibal” serving up the progressive experimental synth sounds of past generations. “Waking up on Time” shifts the emphasis to a lighter, more up-tempo style with similarities to the sounds of bands like Imaginary Cities.
On that one particular commute where I needed music to keep the negative energy at bay whilst stuck in a seemingly endless traffic crawl, “Thrash Rock Legacy” proved to be the perfect “Random Record Revival” to keep the blues away. Revisiting this album, however, left me with the firm conclusion that while this was a musical venture way ahead of its time back in 2014, it still sounds as crisp and fresh as ever three years later. I would strongly recommend giving this album a listen, and to not be misled by the title, as this is not a loud piece of heavy metal, but a wonderful journey that spans many musical styles and generations that serves to lift your spirits in every way possible.