Day 26: Arkells – Michigan Left
- Book Club
- Where U Goin’
- Michigan Left
- On Paper
- Kiss Cam
- One Foot Out The Door
- Agent Zero
About the Album
Michigan Left is the sophomore release of Canadian alternative rockers, Arkells. The album was released in October of 2011 and features the single, “Whistleblower” which was featured in EA Sports’ NHL 13 video game.
Thoughts on the tracklist
The songs feature some extremely catchy hooks, riffs, and choruses. This is no more evident than on the first track, “Book Club”. The song does an excellent job of storytelling and painting a picture of this woman named “Matty” who never stops reading and never remembers to listen. The song is interesting because it tells you just enough about this girl, whether she is real or fictional, that you can create her visual in your mind. To which, the song does an excellent job of luring you in and doing. With a almost perfect beat and storytelling ability, the rest of the album is reflected.
“Where U Goin” has shades of Hall and Oates with it’s sound. It is more autumnal and breezy with a soul-drenched pop sound that is set in a residence hall at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario. Extremely catchy with a bass hook that drives the song. They even give the listener a lesson on how to get to “the chemical valley” aka Sarnia Ontario from Hamilton (403, 401, 402).
Other highlights: “Kiss Cam” I thought was very charming and honest. Catchy to the “nth degree”. It seemingly tells the story of a relationship in the midst of dying, going metaphorically from the somewhat postive cheap seats, to the negative nosebleeds; all while being caught on the kiss cam.
The single “Whistleblower”, is an anthem if I have ever heard one. Phenomenal, catchy, and punchy. “Whistleblower” is a simple premise, idea, concept, and execution that it’s able to win you over immediately. I had to ask myself if this is about a referee simply calling a sports game or exploiting a sports game for being something else entirely… I don’t know exactly. Whatever it is, decide on it, because I tell you, this is the kind of idea that makes an album like this work.
Thoughts on the album
The album has no gimmicks, no studio tricks, no computerized effects. It is just a simple, straightforward and honest rock album that has little filler and even fewer disappointments on it. From name dropping New York Yankees outfielder on title track “Michigan Left” to namedropping the Tragically Hip on “Kiss Cam” the album shines. While the lyrics are not strong and by no means are they any form of great poetry, the music surely makes up for it. The songs deal with a limited range of topics and issues, mostly related to love and relationships. For example “On Paper”, talks about a guy whose desire for a girl but the ghost of relationships passed still haunts him, and the girls names both being Laura makes it worse.
Let’s face it… Canadian bands have been slowly, but surely, dying off one-by-one and it sucks, because there are good Canadian bands such as the Tragically Hip, Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, to name a few. The Arkells give hope to those looking for good rock coming from North of the Border. The quintet from Hamilton, Ontario bring an energetic and passionate sophomore effort. Charismatic and confident, Michigan Left rolls along channeling influences from Springsteen and Hall & Oates.