Published May 14, 2020Echoes, the fourth outing from Iqaluit torchbearers the Jerry Cans, is a hodgepodge of alternative rock, post-rock, prog rock and punk rock — the key word here is "rock." While on 2016's Inuusiq/Life the Jerry Cans often displayed an intimate, vulnerable, acoustically driven vibe, the new material on Echoes serves as a more direct, plugged-in punch to the cranium.
Recorded at Jace Lasek's (of the Besnard Lakes) Montreal studio Breakglass, the band made much use of Lasek's collection of vintage effects pedals — on Echoes, their acoustic guitars stay firmly in their cases. On "SOS", violinist Gina Burgess opens with a delayed, Celtic-influenced section that is swallowed by the combination of Andrew Morrison's heavy guitars and Steve Rigby's drum theatrics, that then gives away to an anthemic chorus before changing direction once more to feature throat singing from Nancy Mike and Avery Keenainak.
On standout track "Swell (My Brother)" a harmonized bass guitar part from Brendan Doherty gives way to throat singing with Morrison's mournful vocals eventually taking centre stage with the whole affair picking up speed to feature some fiddling from Burgess. In this case, the urgency of Morrison's vocal lament is stifled by the business of the instrumental accompaniment.
Echoes will interest the band's hardcore fans who have always wondered what the Jerry Cans would sound like if given the big studio budget and the means to produce a heavier, more progressive sound. But where the band's previous releases display a simplicity that enables the songs to breathe and speak for themselves, Echoes is more frantic and searching. (Aakuluk Music)