WHO ARE THEY? The beloved Canadian indie-rock foursome of Dave Bidini, Dave Clark, Martin Tielli and Tim Vesely, who reunited and returned to active Rheostatics duty in 2016 after nearly a decade apart.
WHAT IS THIS? Their first new studio release in 15 years, featuring songs that pretty much pick up where they left off all those years ago — and which they’ve been performing live since their much-ballyhooed revival.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The sort of smart, poetic Can-rock that folks have been sorely missing since the death of Rheos’ contemporary and Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. Granted, these guys never took themselves quite as seriously as The Hip. And they were always more musically eclectic — which hasn’t changed on this 53-minute disc, which freely mixes and matches pop, rock, folk, glam, metal and more.
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Reintroducing Happiness.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While watching hockey (or CFL in a pinch), eating ketchup chips, drinking Caesars and discussing Margaret Atwood’s latest.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Patriotic, topical, opinionated, idiosyncratic, moody, literary, thoughtful, ambitious, witty, artsy.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? I’ve honestly never been a huge fan, but if you are, good news: These 12 tracks seem consistently solid, if a touch restrained at times.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Too bad they took all that time off — we could have had three more albums like this.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? After 15 years, we all have some catching up to do.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE AN OUTFIT, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Canadian tuxedo.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? It’s practically your patriotic duty to buy this — in fact, it’s hard to believe none of the federal party leaders has promised to make your purchase tax-deductible in exchange for your vote.