Album Review: The Matinée, Broken Arrows

Dec 20 2017, 2:16 am

On Broken Arrows, the new release from the Matinée, the Vancouver-based band decided to start from scratch.

The last two years have been a blurry one for the alternative folk rockers, with four major Canadian tours, performances in the U.S., and slots at festivals including Squamish Valley Music Festival and NXNE to promote their 2013 debut full-length, We Swore We’d See the Sunrise.

Shortly after returning home, the PEAK Performance Project alums locked themselves in Greenhouse Studios for a week with production team Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, Mounties) and Ryan Dahle (Limblifter, Age of Electric, Mounties) to write and record brand new songs through a renewed perspective. The result is Broken Arrows – a five-track EP that both displays the band’s growth and exists, as vocalist Matt Layzell puts it, as “a snapshot from a rest stop along the road of our evolution.”

One of the most significant examples of growth on Broken Arrows is its decidedly more rock and roll sound. The opening title track gives it an apt introduction, scrubbing the Matinée’s signature rootsy stomp with grit that reveals a more riotous tone and darker undercurrents that carry throughout the EP. “Call of the Wild,” the album’s featured single (and definite highlight track), takes that energy and supercharges it with thumping percussion, blasts of guitar, and deliriously distorted vocals.

Taking the risk of shifting a sound that has brought so much success in the past marks another point of progression for the Matinée, and shows that they’re not afraid to challenge themselves. Loud epics (“Basement Suite,” “Temper Temper”) and a concluding, urgent slowburner (“Edge of Something”) prove that this band can not only clear the jump, but they can also do it in a way that’s still so distinctly the Matinée. It’s a new beginning – all held together by country roots.

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