This just in: the Newsmen are blazing into the Toronto music scene. When I heard that this band was influenced by Ben Folds Five, I couldn’t be more on-board with checking them out. And I have to say, within sounding like them and within standing out as a unique sound with different songs, they did not disappoint.
The Ben Folds Five influence is very evident with ‘Lucky Days’. I love this song – the playfulness, the cynical lyrics presented in a nearby happy-go-lucky way – I love the craze in it. The only thing I’m hoping for here in regards to the rest of the album is a little variety that separates it from sounding too much like Ben Folds. It already exists and I’m looking for something different. ‘Building Blocks’ continues the playful streak in a more childlike way and is effective in bringing listeners back to their own childhoods. My hopes have been fulfilled with this song – they tried something just a little different, but were careful not to stray away from their own style. They were just good enough to establish a variation. Most importantly, this music is fun. It’s fun to listen to, fun to talk about, and probably a hell of a lot of fun to perform.
The Newsmen sport unrelenting charm with ‘Monochrome’ that sticks with you. The songs are descriptive and somewhat narrative in nature, as shown in this track. I like this love song for looking at the “lust at first sight” theme in a different way. This one feels like a throwback to simpler times, giving it another layer of appeal. ‘Longest Day of the Year’ continues the musical taste that was first established, but zings the audience with choice words for lyrics. It’s the feeling we’ve all had on a shitty day and this song embodies that. It’s more subdued than the other songs, almost like it feels that this day is so commonplace and crappy that it’s given up. I like the uniqueness and the honesty to the song – where other bands sing about partying, love, sadness, this band pursues something a little more real.
‘4 am and Coffee Pots’ is ecstatic from the get-go representing the wild nature of this kind of lifestyle – one of spontaneity. A great track to pick things up again. It’s the rush that people experience when they initially decide to stay up all night and personifies something beyond the norm. The establishing sounds and vocal filter set ‘The Holes in Your Ear’ apart from other songs and set it up as a great finale to the debut album. This song is reminiscent of better times before the harsh reality dawns on the characters of the song that good things can’t always stay as they are. It’s macabre, sad, ecstatic – I love the whole roller coaster ride that this music takes us on.
Bottom line, this is one of the greatest albums I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. I really hope these guys make it somewhere because I’d love to hear more of them.
For more of Newsmen, visit their BandCamp page.