So here’s the truth of the matter: I have no real expectations for today’s run. Normally, a fartlek would be in order but, lately, I’ve been feeling a bit drained. Truth. The legs felt okay on my ride yesterday evening but they were still a bit tight this morning which normally wouldn’t be the case. Truth. So today’s run then will really have more of a “okay, let’s see what this is” flavor to it. In other words: we’ll just see how it goes.
At least I have something interesting to listen to which, again, going with the whole truth thing, I’ve been putting it off for reasons I’ll explain later. But today is finally that day. I’m going to listen to the newest album by The Strumbellas, ‘Hope‘.
No pressure or anything, guys. Really
Okay, first things first: why am I so hesitant to listen to this album given I’ve posted favorably on their past two albums, right? I even saw them play a terrific performance at The Sanctuary here in Ridgeway last year before later performing my own “Human Vomit Fountain” in our bathroom at home (again, “I love you, honey!“).
But I’m still nervous nonetheless.
You see, their first single ‘Spirits‘ just recently hit the airwaves beginning in April in a big way and that’s given me nearly three months of complete carpet-bombing like saturation. While I recognize the whole commercial/consumer thing, one can only listen to something for so long before one also goes, “meh, I’m over it”, which is genuinely the case here. Plus, they’re also headlining soon at Kerfuffle in Buffalo, New York, and they’ve been getting all that additional hype as well. I mean, that’s great n’ all guys but enough with the ‘Spirits‘ already! You’re killing me.
I wanted to like it. I mean, I really wanted to like it. I tried. Really, I did. But….”meh“. What can I say? I’m fickle like that. So what this means then is that since the single also leads off the album (i.e. my warm up), I then have 10 completely new and different tracks to check out and be inspired by.
I’m optimistic about it, and as the album title itself suggests, I have “hope“.
The band recorded the album at Toronto’s Lincoln County Social Club in three studio sessions, all in the first half of 2015. The album cover, was designed by sci-fi/fantasy illustrator Joel Hustak. I don’t know why I’m throwing that in there, I just am. Prior to it’s release, the band described the album as having “harnessed a vivid sound that was itchin’ to get out of them. Bigger. Bolder. Beckoning”.
You can see why I’m nervous, right?
To me, this has the potential to go all ‘Peter Gabriel’s vs. Phil Collins Genesis‘, (i.e. “genius to pop crap”) up in here.
But, I like I mentioned before: I have ‘hope‘.
Once the infectious “got guns in my head” sing-songy chorus bullshit is over with*, I started to really pay better attention. ‘Shovel’s & Dirt‘ has a fun lolloping rhythm to it which makes it kinda fun to run to as a warm up song down Thunder Bay Rd. following the huge grey cloud that was passing overhead. But then I also had to start thinking about what kind of workout this run was supposed to be. Damn. Then I thought, “well,that first 2k build into pace wasn’t so bad, let’s do it again!”, so I turned abruptly north onto Bernard Rd. and did it again leading up to Nigh Rd.. There was more catchy lyrical hooks and “poppiness” galore with ‘We Don’t Know‘, ‘Wars‘, and ‘Wild & Young‘. Whether it be around ghosts, guns, spirits, or whatever the heck is going through their head next, the boys certainly know how to wrap a song around a catchy chorus. Well done.
Now get out of my head.
As I turned east again onto Nigh Rd, I saw it….the next huge ass storm cloud, except this one certainly wasn’t going to pass overhead as the other one had.
No, sir…my shit was about to get wet.
I actually took shelter in a covered driveway for 5-10 minutes as the worst of the summer storm passed before I continued on to more galloping pop tunes like ‘The Night Will Save Us‘, and ‘David‘. My favorite of which was the campfire jamminess of ‘Wild Sun‘ which, truthfully, is the real hidden jewel of the album if you ask me. In it’s entirety, it’s a decent album. Good actually. I’m even keeping two tracks on my iPod for random gym playlists later on…just not ‘Spirits‘.
All in all, the run itself was a real mixed bag of paces and rest periods including 2 x 2k (build into 10k pace) sets and then 2 x 1k (build into 5k pace) repeats; 8k in all. The spring still isn’t back in my legs yet but they’re certainly better off than they were this time last week, nor are they bothering me now. Of course, it wasn’t ridiculously stupid hot out either like it was last week but I’ll take it as a success nonetheless.
*It’s not a bad song, like, at all. I swear! It’s…decent. It’s just that I’ve heard it now about a zillion times and, hey, the last thing I need right now is another tedious ear worm rattling around inside this brain.