Thursday, April 27, 2023


Gaio put out an EP ten years back, just out of his teens in Niagara-on-the-Lake, but then went off to school, including in Fredericton doing an MA in Creative Writing at UNB. It seems that his creative streak extended to music still, as he wrote some of the songs during those days. Once he moved to Toronto and started working, he found he still had the music bug and finished up these ten tracks for his first full album.

Right from the opening squelch of radio static and stations tuning in and out, the message is clear: he's inspired by the golden oldies stations he heard growing up, playing classic AM radio pop and rock singles. Opener "1949" contains shoo-wop backing vocals, lyrics about taking daddy's car to the beach, and lots of pumping piano and strumming guitars. 

These are light-hearted and loving takes on classic forms but combined with lots of 2023 energy. "Cry Over You" is doo-wop with a sloppy edge, Gaio getting overly dramatic for the break-up number, even yelling "I hate you!" instead of singing. There's a comfort food warmth to all these sounds, such as the sweet backing vocals and the catchy choruses, but those are camouflaging lots of smart rhymes and themes of nostalgia. Instead of mimicking 60s and 70s production, the songs are far more rough-and-ready instead of polished, along the lines of Joel Plaskett, or the Weezer-like soft-loud treatment on "Standing On Your Doorstep." 

There's a big blast of sunshine in most of the songs, particularly "So Much Younger Then," a great summertime, driving, and guitar tune. The whole album says it was a lot of fun back in the day, and it's still lots of fun now.

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