Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The British Columbians

Ironically they actually are from British Columbia. So their name may lack a little originality. That is ok because it appears they put all of their originality and creativity into their music. The Blues have influenced Rock & Roll since, well actually forever. However, thanks to bands like White Stripes, Black Keys and Black Mountain among others the blues are invading Indie Rock again. You can add The British Columbians to the list. Their self-titled debut album on Rural Records is garnering some attention but it deserves much more. The album was mixed in B.C. at The Hive by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Destroyer, and Ladyhawke). Not unlike Black Mountain the album has a Psychedelic Blues sound but it is also influenced by Classic Rock and Roll. Consequently, the band doesn't let the solos and improv over-shadow the core song like a lot of Psychedelic influenced bands. Instead The British Columbians employ Rock and Blues influences that let the songs be the focus.

This is not to say that they can't jam. They certainly aren't afraid to let it rip at times. The British Columbians are Girard Knox - guitar and vocals; Dave Moran - drums and vocals; Christopher Ellis - electric & upright bass; Owen Connell - keyboards, guitar and pedal steel. The use of the upright bass and pedal steel give the album an ancient sound at times while sounding fully modern. At times it reminiscent of Sixteen Horsepower and David Eugene Edwards. Some songs like "Bye Bye Marie" sound eerily rural while others like "Gasoline Handshake" are more electric with a clear Led Zeppelin influence. The latter song is the linchpin of the project. It has a driving bass line that gets you in a groove just in time to deliver a gut punch of an improvisational guitar solo, which flows right into a Psychedelic jam with a wailing trumpet scream. Right now the band is touring primarily in their native B.C. and Alberta. However, based on what this debut shows, Canadians won't be able to keep them to themselves much longer.

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This review also appears on Twangville

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