Matt Steele is from Kentucky and ended up in Halifax, but that's another story. The story behind this second album from his band, following 2016's Songs For Catherine Anne, is equally interesting, and pretty intense too. It follows a partially-autobiographical situation that goes through a manipulative relationship, lost love, overcompensation, mental health trials and addiction. Somehow it all comes out in some of the most upbeat and exciting guitar rock in the true Halifax pop explosion tradition.
With lots of stabbing guitars, revved-up choruses and sweet lead lines, the band tears through eight bold numbers easily described as power pop. The buzzsaw attack of It Won't Happen Again is a brave face in a bad place, "I don't scare easy, I don't fall apart." Rescue Ship is a nautically-themed rebound number: "I've been deep down in my own Marianas Trench, plumbing the depths just to see how bad it can get." There's lots of fine lines, sarcasm, false bravado and hope too, all packaged like a perfect Friday-midnight rock show at the best club in town. If this album had a motto, it would be "Life's crazy, hand me that guitar."