Those damn Canucks are at it again! It seems you can’t swing a sea otter these days without hitting a musician from Canada. Like the New Pornographers and solo member Dan Bejar, The Cinch hail from Vancouver. I don’t know why that’s starting to irk me. They have universal health care, very little gun violence, senses of humor, maple syrup and root beer. In other words, rock and roll is almost all we have, why are you taking it? Ok, I just need to calm down. Rock is for everybody, even people with loons on their coinage.
Imagine if you will, equal parts Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman, that dog, and The Breeders, and you’ll come fairly close to describing the Cinch. They rock hard, wail on the distortion, and have somewhat off-key female harmonies. Those harmonies, by singer Jennifer Smyth and guitarist Kathy Dubé are the true core of the album, creating a girl power hard rock to rival Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney. Now that the band has added a second guitarist in Mark Epp, that crunching sound is amplified, overwhelming the senses with a sound that, done live, will surely leave your eardrums ringing for respite.
The Cinch got the opportunity to record a first album by winning a contest. Well, they’ve certainly graduated from that level into pure seventies era punk / avant garde rock. In fact, had they been from one of the hubs of punk, say New York City, London, or Beaverton, Oregon, okay maybe not that last one, they would have been snatched up by media mavens, given makeovers and stood up like mannequins to compete for dollars with Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But their music stands for itself. It doesn’t need flashy outfits or stage gimmicks. It just needs to rock hard.
“Forwards & Backwards” is one of those that dog meets Velvet Underground tunes. Let’s call it `Velvet Dog.’ It’s almost Mel Tormé! It careens and twists with guitars like an oncoming train for over five minutes before it finally lets you rest, for about two seconds until the next track starts. This whole album is so energetic that I felt like I needed a nap afterwards. I was bushed! Even though at times the guitars sound a little sloppy, there are moments of incredible tightness as well. What matters is that it made me want to get up out of my seat and simply bounce around the room. Should the Cinch come to your town, it’s sure to be a rollicking good time, just don’t forget to bring the earplugs!
The Velvet Underground- White Light / White Heat
that dog- that dog
The Modern Lovers- The Modern Lovers