by Daniel Mallett

Morning Report
Universal Music Canada/Last Gang Records

If you haven’t heard Morning Report, the latest Arkells album, do yourself a favour and give it a listen as soon as possible. The Canadian rockers from Hamilton, Ontario have put together an incredible set of songs, each one as interesting and unique as the next. There is nothing better than a release with no “skip tracks” and this is definitely a no-skip album.

This album will get its songs stuck in your head. The Arkells has written hooks that are so true to the spirit of rock ’n’ roll they already feel like classics. “Drake’s Dad” is the first track and one of the best. The track goes to some intimate places, some political places, but more than anything it’s fun! Truly Canadian from the get-go, the group references its hometown in the first couple lyrics. The real treat is when they make it to the first hook. Max Kerman howls out the choruses on “Drake’s Dad” with passion and absolute commitment. Throughout the album the intensity of the vocal lines are always on par with the charged lyrics the Arkells have written. “Private School” is another instant classic. The chorus is the perfect concert sing along, the lyrics are witty and the lead and backing vocals are superb. “Round And Round” begins quietly and introspectively with lyrics like “And I’ll put everything I have on the table. I never claimed to be a perfect man around my enablers.” The track continues to become a fun, “on the road to somewhere better” track. “Round And Round” is an exciting example of the Arkells’ ability to draw images out of their lyrics and really tell a story. There is something instantly nostalgic about “Savannah.” The song feels like a rock ’n’ roll girl meets a rock ’n’ roll boy movie. It’s the kind of song every band needs to write at least one of. “Passenger Seat” takes full advantage of Anthony Carone on piano. The heavy rhythms accent Kerman’s voice as he chokes out the hook of the track. “I turn on radio to something slow just to let it fuck with my mood and songs don’t sound the same without you in the passenger seat.” “A Little Rain (A Song For Pete)” is a party folded up into four minutes. The drums are on point throughout this track, the piano does a little bit of Jerry Lee Lewis rocking, and Kerman continues to give his all to every vocal line that comes up. “And Then Some” has a beautiful sentiment with yet another amazing lyrical hook: “I adore you cause you don’t care where I came from. Just kiss me in the dark while my lips are numb and I love every inch of you and then some.” The piano and guitars work wonderfully together on this track to create a multileveled sound that really brings the song home.

Enough good cannot be said about Morning Report. The Arkells have found a voice and sound in their lyrics and composition that is instantly recognizable. The level of songwriting they have achieved is something rare and special. Morning Report is lyrically, musically, and just generally a fantastic album.

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