steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Hundreds and Thousands

Self-titled CD

Nettwerk Records

Genre: rock/pop, indie rock

Ottawa, ON

July 13, 2009

The Hundreds and Thousands was born out of the ruins of Ottawa's Starling, a much respected power pop band from the early half of this decade. I can't say I was all that accustomed with the band, but my soft spot for Canadian indie rock has landed this debut album a trip in my stereo.

As might be expected from a Nettwerk release, the name of the game here is crisp, melodic rock/pop with seamless production values and a slight dash of edge. The result is fun to hum along to, although the anti-cubicle subject matter leaves the lyrics somewhat trite. Still, the potent songwriting covers for any verbal missteps. Lead single "Rat Race" (see video below) is a prime example - a thumping bassline, slappy drums, and jangly guitars push the song in one direction: forwards. This momentum manifests itself in a slick, modern indie rock track - the stuff of moonlit city chase scenes and sinister nightclub montages. Interestingly, a similar formula is used on adjacent "Bullet Train Wreck," which draws its listener in with a Flashing Lights influenced immediacy. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that it may be better than the album's main single.

Other strong tracks include fiery "When You Want Yours" and electric "Worker Bees." A bit of filler is, of course, excusable if somewhat disappointing (saggy "Don't Talk to Me"). Other songs replicate the fodder of recent modern rock charts - "Days in Between" (U2), "Fall" (Coldplay), etc. The results are certainly catchy, but they don't live up to the stronger moments. The verdict, thus, is that this is an uneven but ultimately impressive debut album. I can't speak for all the grieving Starling fans, but I've enjoyed The Hundreds and Thousands' residency in my stereo.

the hundreds and thousands' myspace



Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]