Peter Hicks is the singer-songwriter fronting Fredericton's admired Sleepy Driver, but here he takes a holiday for a new project. Joined by a trio of indie-rock inspired friends, the new group takes Hicks' always-solid songs on a punchier path. With the songs short and sweet, My Black Ram puts the emphasis on fast impact, with guitar, synth, organ and piano providing the hit-and-run on cuts such as "Golden Era" and "Another Lover."
Hicks likes to write mystery-noir stories for Sleepy Driver, and some of that appears in My Black Ram, notably "Uh Huh" and "Lost That Feeling" in the middle of the nine-song set. Here, instead of letting the words control the mood, the band gets to add colours, from sweet to sinister, the latter song getting an especially dramatic groove. And just to prove its (almost) all about the instruments, a couple of keyboard-led instrumentals are featured as well.
The band is launching the album with a hometown show coming up this Saturday, Nov. 23. It's at the Capital Complex, 10 p.m., with Graeme Kennedy opening.