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
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.