Hailing from the local Long Beach area, progressive indie rockers with a slight Latin tinge, WildPack of Canaries, released their latest album last fall. We at Online Rock had the pleasure of experiencing them live not too long ago after they won Buskerfest, and we immediately fell in love with their sound. This talented quintet puts a fantastic quirky spin on the much trodden path of progressive rock. With a catchy refreshing sound and driving melodies, Wild Pack of Canaries are waiting in the wings to ascend to a broader platform of audience.
In their latest effort, The Coroner Can Wait, the shift in pacing and the sporadic delivery of both lead singer Rudy De Anda and the guitar work of J.P. Bendzinsk provide the architecture of a sound that is both captivating and elusive. Of these songs, the listener may think they have a grasp of them, only to have the musical direction and landscape shift and take off into a different realm. Alfred Hernandez holds the reigns ever so loosely with precision drumming that fits nicely into the many sounds that make up the complete faction. I mention names associated with instruments but that may be doing WPoC a slight injustice, since many of the members are multi-instrumentalists. Whether its Aeron Archambault on bass, keys or guitar, or Bendzinsk switching from a 12-string to percussion or bass, these are talented individuals who refuse to let their music become stagnant.
“Fenced Gardens” provides a good opener for the album with the fitting sound of birds in the background, allowing a catchy progressing melody to invite the listener in. Each song builds off its own genesis, branching out. Whether its sifting in and out of a groove as in the title track, “The Coroner Can Wait,” or driving steadily along with a swooping Bossa Nova feel, like the Latin tinged “Little Brazilian Kids,” no facet of their music goes unnoticed. Integral to their creative sound is the manipulation and effects of Matisse Ibarra. With so much going on in the melodies, he provides a musical space out on the edge where the subtle and the melodic meet for a while before diving back in with the rest of the group. “Perfect Strangers” provides a great example of each member exercising his own space while sticking close to the collective, never allowing the direction to be lost.
One of my personal favorites on the album is “Drapes.” Relatively short in its length by comparison, it nonetheless provides an extraordinary amount of wonderful crescendos and breakdowns. De Anda’s singing is pure gold, not only on this track but the whole album, showcasing his ability to come close to spoken word, yet still hold a honeyed melodic tone when he so chooses. At the 2:31 one mark where the band kicks back in, it is simply delectable; the rest of the song weaves in and out of a psychedelic blotter of sound, and I only wish it went on longer.
The last song on the album, “Hitchhikers Guide to Insanity,” is another great example of WPoC allowing the music to build, the jagged yet parabolic guitar riff providing the jutting tone that each member picks up on and joins in on. With tight drum fills and a shift in speed towards the middle, it’s easy to hear the talent and broad spectrum of sound that WPoC possesses.
With such a large musical base to build on, from dual lead guitars, keyboards, percussion, effects, and some brilliant horn pieces for good measure, the Wild Pack of Canaries are definitely a band to watch. The Coroner Can Wait takes more than just a light listen because the music is layered and not for the simple ear. I mentioned only some of the songs, critiquing specific points within, but every song is solid, with no fillers and fulfilling a constant desire to catch the listener of guard. If you have a chance I highly recommend picking up this album and seeing these guys live. Rumor has it they just finished some playing time on KXRV in Austin, Texas; so don’t be trailing behind the bandwagon.
Favorite Tracks: “Drapes,” “Little Brazilian Kids,” “Hitchhikers Guide to Insanity”
Reviewer Bio - Tim Rosini is part of the editorial team at Onlinerock team. Having a background in English literature with a concentration in creative writing, Tim found himself working for various magazines and websites after moving out to the west coast last summer. Having the ability to adapt his focus from business writing to creative fiction he has found a great place to exercise his passion for music on the onlinerock website.