New Row – Waging War


NewRow3Not all that long ago, I did a cover on New Row’s single ‘The Day The Never Ends‘ off their forthcoming album ‘Waging War‘. The track was awesome and I gave it high praise. It is radio-worthy like few songs deserve to be while still being grounded and true to the album. In other words, it doesn’t just play the marketing game for a radio single. It’s actually a good song. I was lucky enough to be given a copy of the full sixteen-track behemoth of an album ahead of schedule so that I might give it a review. We’re just days away from the album drop and I think it’s the perfect time to dig into what you fans of Canadian Indie music are in for when New Row starts ‘Waging War‘ on January 25th, 2018.

NewRow2Now as I’ve said, this album is a sixteen track production, so it might be a little grueling to go through each individual track here in this one review. It might be a little cheeky of me to do, but this is why I hope for nothing more than the chance to chat with the band about certain tracks leading up to and after the release of the album. The inside scoop is always a fun way to dig into music and a sure-fire way to garner interest from prospective fans. I hope the guys are up for it.

Now, to the album…there is a wide range of tracks as one might well expect from such a sizeable song list, but each track has its own unique quality. Don’t get me wrong, they are all still painted with the specific brush that one might label New Row, but it’s as though each bristle of that brush has painted an interesting and separate piece of work in the form of song.

NewRow1From ‘Binary‘ to ‘The Day That Never Ends‘ and from ‘Sandslide‘ to ‘Let Go‘ there is an incredible range that still holds true to the signature vocals of Anthony Bewlz, and even the distinctive guitar tones of Tim Dunn and Jim Castillo (as well as their sometimes haunting harmonies). It says a lot about a band that their compositions, while vastly different from one another, can still share the very peculiar quality of sound that is very much a part of the band. Especially with an album as large as this one. That New Row can keep its identity without boring an audience with the same shit over and over is an incredibly important and not especially universal skill for bands.

It might seem like I’m hammering this point home, but it’s incredibly important, especially since these songs don’t all necessarily share a common theme. There are, of course, songs about love and loss. Those are typical enough. But then imagine that same old story told through the backdrop of the apocalypse…or at least a dream about it. While the lyrics may come across simply enough, the depths of each tune are significant and worthy of multiple plays to fully grasp. I’m not sure how many times I’ve listened to the album now, but let’s just say I’ve spent a few hours with this special gift I’ve been given some time shy of the official release.

NewRowIf I wanted to ‘Belong‘ somewhere, I would first stop in to chat with bassist Troy Ranville who has some wicked lines throughout the album, especially in this track. ‘Belong‘ also features some of the best harmonies and what I consider one of the signatures of the band in its “major lift” (to quote Cohen). New Row has this ability to resolve a moment of music to fully change its quality and it is indeed uplifting and it surely doubles as a perfect way to hook the audience.

These guys pull from quite a few places for inspiration. There is an incredible pull from the 90′s era, so far as I can hear. But that’s not where it ends. They dig into several 90′s genres as well…and they even pull from both classic Irish lyrics as well as some David Bowie. The stretch is incredible. From eyes shining like diamond (mines) to life on Mars, there is a wonderful homage to those gone by in the form of some awesome emerging music!

Throughout the week, I’ll be digging into tracks individually (hopefully with the help of some of the band) and the release will certainly be covered but until then, enjoy a sneak peek at what’s coming up right HERE! This is certainly a worthwhile collection of clever Canadian music that could be enjoyed at a patio party (once it’s warmer out), or just late at night when all alone…it’s an album for one and all; it may soon be everywhere, and it’s ‘Waging War‘.