Catchy and up-beat, with plenty of the brazen, in-your-face rock attitude that has become their signature, Speed Control’s second and latest album, F.A.B., hit the streets on August 7 and has since been uploaded to iTunes and CDBaby.
The album was produced by Saskatchewan-based producer David J. Taylor, who first saw Speed Control perform at last year’s BreakOut West showcase.
He worked with Bob and Patrick Hamilton of Old Crow Studios to record the group, and finished the final mix and mastering back in Saskatchewan.
Considering the lively nature of Speed Control’s music and their strong live show, Taylor naturally wanted to capture their irrepressible energy on the album.
To do it, they recorded and mixed the album in what Taylor describes as “five frenetic days” of laying down tracks almost live, without lots of editing or touching up.
The result is a dynamic mix of tracks that doesn’t let the energy drop for a second.
Not over-polished, yet very cohesive, the sound may prompt listeners to feel as if they’re hearing some of the first garage tracks from the punk-rock beginnings of Green Day or Blink 182.
Particularly contributing to the punk-rock edge of many tracks are the combined vocals of brothers Graeme and Jody Peters, both strong singers who express emotion and angst as they harmonize adeptly with each other.
They are backed up by clear-cut, catchy riffs and expressive guitar solos with sharply-defined rock beats to match, courtesy of drummer Ian March.
F.A.B. is not only dynamic in terms of the band’s sound, however; yet another element is added by the three different authors and two guest musicians who have contributed to the album.
The second and sixth tracks, “Coming Home” and “Up and Everything”, were written by Jody Peters, while Barry “Jack” Jenkins wrote Track 4, “All My Songs”, Track 9, “I Could Write a Song”, and Track 12, “Tent City”.
The latter was originally written for the rock opera, The Busker and the Barista, which premiered at last year’s Nakai Homegrown Festival.
Jenkins’s first track, “All My Songs”, is a slower-paced, nicely melodic piece that features the talents of Bob Hamilton on mandolin, with 13-year-old Emma Blair of the all-girl rock band Heavy META-J providing vocal back-up with clear, beautiful harmonies.
A third and final guest artist is Graeme’s nine-year-old daughter, Selena Savage, who created the dinosaur artwork for the album cover.
The rest of the songs on the album were written by Graeme Peters, whose style offers a slightly rougher, occasionally Brit-rock flavour of music, such as on the opener, “Because I Can”, the angst-ridden Nirvana cover, “Breed”, or the ’80s-style rock anthem, “Seeing Blue”, which is introduced by a groovy two-minute instrumental, “Koontr”.
With this diverse mix of sounds and styles, Speed Control’s sophomore work represents an intriguing progression in their musical career, promising more good things to come from this energetic young group.
Speed Control recently toured through Ontario, including a week spent teaching a rock camp at the Stratford Music Festival.
For more information and blog updates, check out their Facebook page, or their website at http://speedcontrol.ca/site/.
F.A.B. will be available for sale locally through Triple J’s Music Cafe and Midnight Sun Coffee Roasters, or online through iTunes.
Outstanding Tracks: “All My Songs”, “Koontr” and “Seeing Blue”.
Willow Gamberg is a former What’s Up Yukon intern who writes about music and other arts-related topics.