SECONDHAND HABIT – Contact High

2020

SECONDHAND HABIT –
Contact High

Canadian collective harden their rock and roll away the stone on an album that elevates the ensemble’s appeal above the clouds.

This group have been around for a decade now, playing all around Victoria and venturing beyond British Columbia but somehow dodging the spotlight. So after the “From The Ashes” EP signaled the arrival of a new line-up in 2017, the quartet took their time to painstakingly polish its sound and here’s the result: in less than 30 minutes, the foursome take a stand impressive enough to make a mental note. Or to go mental.

The listener will be given a lot of space to breathe when thrown in at the deep end once the powerful riff of opener “Hey” has let vocals to the fore for the number to gain momentum and bloom with a six-string detail until the sonic assault is solidified and Jesse Turner’s switching to a half-spoken diatribe to deliver his romantic message. But if that may seem too angry and alienating, “Get Back” offers an organ-oiled swirl, a riveting refrain and a singalong line in a classic hard rock tradition – an effort faring much better than not so imaginative “Soundwaves”… whose multilayered solo completely changes the cut’s melodic perspective.

When the roaringly catchy “Bad Habit” bares its hooks, the ensemble’s arena prospects become impossible to ignore, what with Levi Megenbir’s bass and Skyler Wilson’s drums whipping the audience into a frenzy and Jon Yellowlees’s guitar feeding fat bluesy licks into the piece. Further on, “Choice Chance Change” unfolds an irresistible dance groove and injects a bit of raga into the increasingly hysterical flow to show the foursome’s stylistic breadth. Which is how the hot lava of “Next To None” manages to banish the tune’s suburban ennui in favor of infectious funk, while “Shapeshift” reverts the party to a screamfest that must please punters anyway for there’s a space for them, again, to join in and shout together with the band.

It’s fun, after all.

***4/5

October 12, 2020

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