This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Like his band name suggests, Halifax indie-rocker Joel Plaskett has always been the sort of guy who makes you want to be ready to call 911 for an ambulance. Thing is, it used to be for him. Now I’m not so sure.
Plaskett, who suffers from the blood disorder benign neutropenia, spent a fair amount of time writing about his health on his first two albums. On his third sterling studio disc, songwriting still seems to be a matter of life and death — just not necessarily his.
“I never meant to hurt her / Now everybody’s screaming murder,” he sings on Mystery and Crime, one of several tunes that find the former Thrush Hermit singer flirting with a murky, noirish world of violence and paranoia. Musically, however, Plaskett and his kinetic power trio haven’t gone bad.
On these dozen tracks, they continue to sift through the ashes of early ’70s guitar rock, channelling the ghosts of Big Star, Badfinger and The Box Tops to fashion confident, cliche-free tunes highlighted by spacious arrangements, biting guitars, quirky hooks and deliberate grooves. But like the sick but talented puppies they are, Plaskett and his Emergency remain chronically in need of attention — medical, musical or otherwise.