Some folks they tell me: "You just cant play country / Youre a stupid young punk and youre from Montreal / But Ill still make you cry with that song.
Good, heartfelt music wins in the end, not shtick. Yesterdays Ring doesnt succeed because theyre punks playing country, rather it's because of the honest and self-aware tone of songs like Sad Songs and the smoky, soulful manner of Hugo Mudies vocals. What the band plays is a perfect fit on Suburban Home, though they are less traditional in their country than most of their labelmates, having more in common with Marah than Drag the River.
With occasional southern rock style use of horns, a plethora of other instruments, and, yes, even handclaps Yesterdays Ring are a country-punk band that isnt trying to hide their allegiances. Most of the songs are structured just like punk songs, with catchy, anthemic choruses and numerous references to the underground lifestyle. All that differs is the twanginess of the guitar and the instrumentation being used. Well, that and the decibel levels are much lower.
The band, while they do slip in a few ballads, like the female-fronted Scrabble Strip Club, play mostly upbeat songs with sing-along parts and toe-tapping rhythms. Who I Wanted to Be (Pretty Baby)" is so catchy I could almost imagine it on country radio, if only the powers that be operated things differently. The earlier Marah comparison is used mainly due to similarities in Mudies voice and in the more upbeat songs that are built around traditional, folksy influences, especially the latter part of the record. This definitive sound is best exemplified in tracks such as Moving Out (to Florida) and Truckstop in Charlotte, NC. In them, the band focuses on high energy catchiness thats loud, but layered on top of traditional structures and instrumentation, with a bigness that reminds of The Hold Steady. Meanwhile, the themes contemplate traditional country ideas, such as loneliness, drinking, and sorrow, heavily symbolized via long Montreal winters.
The record is well organized, with a variety of slow and fast that keeps things interesting but, at fifteen tracks, is a little too long. Considering the number of instruments, guest musicians, and time that likely went into this release, the artwork feels like a throw-in.
7.1 / 10
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