It's always nice when a fantastic release comes out of nowhere. That was certainly the case for new Manchester based band Canadian Businessman. The three piece, formed of Stand Out Riot's Tessa, Ben and Francis released their debut self titled EP just before Easter to little fanfare. Being a fan of Stand Out Riot I previewed it immediately and was gobsmacked by how good it is. It jumped right to the top of my review list.
While Stand Out Riot play a unique mix of ska, punk and gypsy music, Canadian Businessman is a straight up punk band. As in Stand Out Riot Ben plays the drums but for Canadian Businessman Tessa swaps her violin for a bass guitar and Francis swaps his trombone for a guitar. Francis and Tessa also share vocal duties. Now we've got that important information out of the way, let's get on with the review!
The opening track is titled Original and begins in a fantastically upbeat way. I'm actually reminded of Francis's other band, Leagues Apart, as there is that dirty sing-a-long punk rock sound to the song. Francis takes the lead on the song with Tessa supplying some fantastic harmonies throughout. Original is a positive sounding song about reassuring yourself that despite everything it's going to be alright. As you would expect, the chorus is brilliantly catchy and it won't be long until you're singing along quite gleefully. I loved the breakdown section where Francis and Tessa trade off vocals along with a bass solo before building to the finish. Next up is the song Giant which starts off in a relatively heavy fashion before Tessa's vocals come in. Even after years of listening to Stand Out Riot, I'd never realised just what a beautiful vocal she has. It's great that she's given the chance shine here. Francis comes back in for the chorus and the pair display some awesome harmonies once again. The song has a pretty lengthy outro with some high energy buzzsaw guitars ending the song with some aplomb.
Holes reminds me of a more upbeat Above Them. This is honestly one of my favourite songs of the year so far. There's a chugging stop start to the song before an intense Francis comes in with some of the most intense and urgent vocals on the EP. There is a section in the song where the vocals become distorted alongside the guitars to create an interesting sound. This leads to the song's big highlight at the end of the track - a big gang vocal finale where everyone can sing-a-long! The EP finishes off with Warm Welcome. This track is one where the band show off what a great bunch of musicians they are thanks to some fantastic solos throughout the song with Francis's guitar playing in particular standing out. Tessa again handles lead vocal duties beautifully as she sings a song about not feeling as welcome in a scene as you first thought you were. The three part harmonies towards the end of the song, as the band sing the line "I've never felt so cold", are excellent. The layering is incredible. A fantastic way to end such a great EP.
When we get to December and we start thinking about what our favourite releases of the year are I'm expecting Canadian Businessman to feature quite highly in mine. This is so good. I hope there are plans in the works to play these songs live at some point and that band do some more bits like this.
Like Canadian Businessman here: https://www.facebook.com/canadianbusinessman/
This review was written by Colin Clark.