Yesterday we properly introduced you to Canadian outfit Arkells, today they release their fifth studio album titled Rally Cry. It’s rare we find an album that we instantly enjoy enough to feel the need to run you through the release track by track but Arkells have managed to do just that. With this being the follow-up to 2016’s Morning Report which saw track Knocking At The Door becoming Canada’s most played alt-rock song of the year they have a lot riding on their shoulders to continue to impress (Spoiler alert: They definitely impress).
Hand Me Downs
The opening track Hand Me Downs opens with a simplistic guitar line allowing Max Kerman’s vocals to soar above them. With a catchy, motivational chorus we find ourselves singing “Ain’t no shame in some hand me downs” a bit longer than we should. The track kicks up a notch whilst still maintaining a really lovely feel-good vibe. Spreading positivity lyrically lines such as “You’re a tough kid, way tougher than me” are likely to make this a track fans will turn to maybe when they’re not feeling great and need some positivity filled music to listen to. As far as opening tracks go, Arkells have nailed it.
Now for something totally different, the swirling introduction of American Screams retains the foot tapping vibe we’re getting from this release. Fans have already heard this single already thanks to Arkells creating an American Screams hotline in the run-up to the release date for fans to call up and hear the song before it was posted online. There’s a real disco undertone with this track, supported by layered backing vocals resulting in a groovy pop track. Arkells have never strayed away from talking politics in this track as they’ve explained via twitter the second verse of this single is for the despair felt following on from the Vegas shooting and the short-fused conversations taking place in the political world. The chorus lyric “You wanna do God’s work, it’s going to be hard work” is one of the most powerful and thought-provoking on the release. Political themes in music are something Arkells do fantastically.
Released as the albums lead track, Relentless saw the quintet trying something a little different. Creating a cinematic styled track, it’s a refreshing change to conventional guitar-led tracks which we hear more often than not. Sampling a track by Chicco which Max was introduced to by his dad, this continues to show off just how much of a solid musical unit Arkells are especially thanks to the impressive crescendo shown off. It’s enjoyable to listen to, clap along to and lose yourself too. We’re starting to see a pattern in that Arkells enjoy making sing-along friendly tracks to compliment their live shows, we can’t wait to hear this live in November!
Only For A Moment
The best thing about a track-by-track review is for us we can see just how different each track is and what it brings to the whole release. Reminiscing about a night where “Only for a moment we could feel alright” it’s a feeling we’ve all had before when we just want to escape everything bad going on around us and just have a really great time. Musically the soft, whirling guitars help to build a summery, reflective picture within your head causing us to imagine a summer night when all this unfolded. If storytelling tracks where you can bring them to life with your mind are your thing, skip to this.
Show Me Don’t Tell Me
Flaunting off the band’s skilled guitar work merged in with soothing keys we find ourselves just shutting our eyes and being completely fixated on this track. It doesn’t turn in to some loud, brash number instead it remains a slower, emotive effort about that special person you want more than anyone else and all the feelings connected with it. It’s a dreamy pop attempt which echoes out with the line “You’re always my number one” and this might be our number one track on the release so far.
The first single to be taken from the album was People’s Champ and going from the dreaminess of Show Me Don’t Tell Me to the pure fire grooviness of this track is a stark contrast. Getting us ready to be spirit lifted and ready to put out all the bad dance routines, we’ve not been quiet about how much we love this track since we first heard it. In times of adversity without a real leader, there are always people who have more power within them to rise up and be a people’s champ. We love the message this track is spreading, it’s fun and fiery with gang vocals thrown in for good measure.
Eyes On The Prize
After the bar has been raised so high by this point of the release we’ve got high hopes for the last leg of the release. Within the first ten seconds of this track with the “Keep my eyes on the prize baby” sugary sweet backing vocals making an appearance, we have a feeling this is going to be good. The gospel vibes oozing through making this a big, bold standout tune as twangy guitars and Max’s sharp vocals work in sync perfectly. There’s even a spoken section where we can just envision Max standing up and preaching with a gospel choir stood behind him. Iconic. Arkells have kept their eyes on the prize with this release; gaining even more fans and potentially another gold-certified album.
A dirtier, pop-rock track still maintains the Arkells trademark sound but with a jazzed up twist. If you stop yourself clicking/clapping along throughout, you’re stronger than us. Singing of how you’re in a world of possibilities on a Saturday night, we can really relate to “Tomorrow’s a write-off” because who doesn’t love having a very special Saturday. There’s even what we can only assume to be a saxophone making an appearance towards the end of the track. We definitely didn’t expect that! Throughout Arkells have wowed us with their energy and simply exciting musical offerings.
Perfectly suited to a film soundtrack, think when everything goes wrong for someone and they make that slow walk in the rain back to their house and you’ll get what we mean. Here the drumlines are what stand out for all the right reasons, rolling lines and slapped out vocals during powerful lines “Start walking on your own two feet” make this a great combination. There’s also the small matter of our favourite instrumental on the release, it’s powerful, mysterious and adrenaline pumping throwing your mind in every single direction possible.
Don’t Be A Stranger
Closing the release we’re hoping this brings together everything we’ve loved on the release and that it does. Strumming guitar lines, a slowed tempo, sincere storytelling lyrics and a good old tug of the heartstrings. Singing of watching on as someone you love goes through a rough time, wanting them to know that you’re there for them. Lyrically Arkells are leading the pack right now, with lines such “I love you like my own blood so don’t be a stranger” it strikes a chord deep within as you believe every word sung. Don’t be a stranger to Arkells, you need them in your life to brighten your days.
Arkells now five albums down the line are continuing to produce fresh, exciting and memorable tracks. We love their relatable lyrics, genre-switching sound and the feel-good vibes they put across throughout Rally Cry which leave us smiling from ear to ear. Expect to see a whole lot more of Arkells across CelebMix as we’ll be playing this release on repeat for the foreseeable future.
If you want to hear some of the tracks featured on Rally Cry live, Arkells are heading out on tour across the UK and Germany in November. Keep up to date with Arkells on Facebook, Official Website, Twitter and Youtube.
Which is your favourite track on Rally Cry? Tweet us @CelebMix to let us know!