The title of Rival Boys‘ new EP is self-explanatory.
Recorded in a single live-off-the-floor session on Jan. 8, 2014 — as their hometown of Toronto was still recovering from a paralyzing winter blast — Ice Storm‘s five tracks showcase the band’s raw power and set the stage for the release of the full-length LP, animal instincts, this June.
Rival Boys features the sister/brother pairing of Lee and Graeme Rose, backed by the propulsive drumming of Sam Sholdice. The group’s distinctive sound revolves around the dynamic chemistry the three members have developed in an incredibly short space of time. The Rose siblings’ shared lead vocals create a consistent level of glorious tension within the songs, while on stage Lee’s ability to simultaneously sing and play both bass and electric violin (in tandem with bass pedals), offers a sonic range few trios can match.
That’s evident from Ice Storm’s opening track ‘Do Good,’ an infectious slice of power pop, which segues into ‘Young & Old,’ with Lee’s voice and violin propelling the song’s soaring melody. Things go in a darker direction on ‘Black Pine,’ with Graeme taking centre stage on this track steeped in classic Canadiana imagery. The band appears at its heaviest next on ‘Sober & Single,’ a song driven by a fuzzy riff by Graeme that will make hard rock fans take notice. Things wrap up on an anthemic note with ‘Dream Of Stones,’ a duet that builds to a stunning climax, just as it does at all of the band’s live shows.
Produced by Rival Boys with renowned engineer Joe Dunphy at Toronto’s Revolution Recording Studios, Ice Storm was mixed in a single session the day after the recording. It’s a testament to the band’s combined work ethic and confidence, coming on the heels of two recently released tracks, a killer cover of Wolf Parade’s ‘I’ll Believe In Anything,’ and ‘Lives of Plants and Animals,’ from the upcoming animal instincts, scheduled for release the end of May. Both songs are available to stream online and, along with Ice Storm, provide more than enough evidence that Rival Boys are one of the most exciting new Canadian bands to emerge in 2014.