Home Read Classic Album Review: Joel Plaskett Emergency | Down at the Khyber

Classic Album Review: Joel Plaskett Emergency | Down at the Khyber

Thrush Hermit's frontman shifts his musical focus on his first solo release.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


If Joel Plaskett’s name rings a bell, it’s probably because he and his distinctive yelp used to front Halifax retro-rockers Thrush Hermit. They broke up back in ’99, but it turns out their end was just the beginning for JP.

Now leading his own Emergency — a wry dig at his own supposedly fragile health, one presumes — Joel continues to rummage through the ruins of ’70s music, although he’s turned his attention away from the crunching rock toward the more introspective, blue-eyed pop jangle of folks like Alex Chilton and The Box Tops, Badfinger and The Raspberries. And he pulls it off magnificently. From the slow-burning opener Down at the Khyber through the sugar-pop surge of Patriot Love to the echoing acoustic-guitar campfire closer Light of the Moon, Down at the Khyber is hookier than a tackle box, catchier than a cold and quite possibly the best album you won’t hear this year — unless the sheep at Canadian radio or MuchMusic suddenly develop taste. Barring that, I suggest you seek out this sucker on your own.