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Good Luck-Black Cat-Bad Luck Review By Sam Cash
I feel like ‘throwback’ music has gotten a bad rap lately. It seems bands can don some overalls, strum a banjo aggressively, and all of the sudden their pop music is shrouded in retro nostalgia, deeming them alternative, or somehow more legitimate than the rest of their mainstream contemporaries—Mumford and Sons anyone?
I am not dissing, nor debating, the sound of these bands; all I am saying is that there seems to be an increasing number of acts trying to define their sound by a ‘look’, rarely taking the time to develop their craft past their tight jeans and carefully sculpted messy hair.
Enter Tarantuela: the Peterborough-bred, Toronto-ruling rock and rollers recently signed to Cameron House Records. Their debut album Good Luck-Black Cat-Bad Luck draws on influences ranging from old blues, 50’s doo-op, and 60’s British rock, yet it is delivered in a refreshingly authentic way that shows these guys are the real deal. Fronted by the sometimes-softly-tender, mostly-howling vocals of Jay Swinnerton, this five-piece band seems to be a band first and foremost, rather than a group of guys backing a singer-songwriter. Though these songs are solid enough to stand on their own, the sound of this album harkens back to the days when the quality, musicality, and chemistry of a band was just as important. The scorching horn lines that kick off Stay a While are perfect for the rollicking blues number, and the infectious In the Middle of The Street is reminiscent of The Band, while the awesomely catchy In My Parade has the kind of simple swagger of early Kinks and Beatles.
These songs are straight to the point, simply written, and just flat out great in the most organic way possible. Though they may wear tight jeans and have great hair, their sound has depth and authenticity, while still maintaining a bit of an unabashed ‘throwback’ sound. While good luck may not be what this band wants—as Swinnerton points out on the title track when he sings, “I had good luck, I want the bad kind back”— it’s clear that this album will bring them piles of it. Check them out at The Horseshoe Tavern this Friday, May 18 for their album release show, with The Devin Cuddy Band and The Silver Hearts.
Sam Cash is a Toronto singer-songwriter whose sound has been compared to the likes of a young Elvis Costello or Tom Petty. His debut album Teenage Hunger, released late 2011, has been well-received in reviews by Exclaim! Magazine and in enthusiastic quotes from Hawksley Workman and Serena Ryder.