I’m in the relatively rare position of having seen The Little Black Dress a solid two or three times before I ever heard a lick of their recorded music. In fact, at those times, they didn’t even have a whole lot of recorded music to listen to; they hadn’t yet released their debut album Spotlight. But after seeing them a few times, and realizing that I was singing along to most of the words without having heard a single recorded track, I decided that maybe it was high time I gave them a listen. I was surprised by the result.
Now before anyone draws any undue conclusions, allow me to clarify: I don’t mean that as a bad thing, or even really as a good thing, per se. It’s just a fact. I was just surprised by what I heard. By the time I sat down to listen to Spotlight, I recognized most of the songs to some extent – a lyric here, a hook there – but the arrangements just seemed a little unfamiliar. After a little further investigation, I decided that this was a very good thing.
Spotlight plays like a pop-rock powerhouse. In the studio, the Toronto quintet lays the pop on thick and unapologetically. With four-on-the-floor dance beats and irresistibly hooky vocals, the album seems like easy pickin’s for the next big crossover hit. On stage though, it’s a slightly different story. While those elements are still present: they’re reinforced with a compliment of grimy guitar licks, extended solos and general musical virtuosity. In other words, they put on an honest-to-God killer rock show.
So, whichever side you favour, The Little Black Dress has something to offer. Maybe they’re the first true pop-rock bad. Spotlight is available from your favourite digital music distribution source, and you can catch them live at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto on March 23 for Canadian Music Week.