Sunday, April 8, 2018


Six albums in, Ottawa duo Sills & Smith have a reputation for alt-rock and prog rock, but this is calmed down, and leaning heavily folk/singer-songwriter. Perhaps that's because they've got some things to get off their respective chests. Frank Smith, who handles almost all the lyrics, has some harsh words off the top in On The Edge for those senators and congressmen Dylan called out years ago, and who haven't learned in all that time: "A pox on all your house." The song puts us near the precipice, foolishly getting too close, just lucky we're not falling over. It's a warning that seemingly nobody's taking. How we got in this mess is pretty clear, Smith once again pointing the finger at the greedy in Kings: "Opportunists in tailored suits collide with Fascists Sloganeers Carnival barkers. Although the song is looking back at the old captains of industry, the parallel is plain to see.

There's a lot of different subject matter over the 14 cuts here, and for such a lengthy album to steer away from love songs for the most part is pretty remarkable. Several times they return to current affairs, echoing feelings a lot of us are having of late. Grave Fascination looks at how bigotry and greed have become so open in society, and how brazen the perpetrators are. Mercy is simply a call for some of it. There are moments of hope spread about, and the record doesn't have a negative tone. It's more a plea for a little sanity, putting their lot on the side of the righteous. It feels like something we should all be making clear these days.

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