Winnipeg six-piece Royal Canoe makes the kind of music that begs to be played outdoors. On debut full-length, Today We’re Believers, big choruses and bongos form a joyful noise atop an electro pop collage that should be heard under the sun for maximum impact.
Tracks like single “Bathtubs” shimmy and groove on keyboard effects and layered vocals, all driven by an aggressive drum line that maintains a sense of rhythm and continuity amongst the chaos. “Hold On To The Metal” opens more subtly, with hand drums framing lyrics that encourage simplicity: “don’t forget to focus close on the air above your nose.” The verses start with a single vocalist and grow into an explosive, celebratory earworm of a chorus.
Today We’re Believers relies heavily on keyboard effects and electronic enhancements like vocoder to achieve its various textures. With so many tools at their disposal, then, it’s surprising when the album becomes repetitive on the back side. This may be due to the intensity of Royal Canoe’s sonic formula: This type of music is perfectly suited for a 45-minute festival slot, and anything more can become taxing. Tracks like the sprawling, 6:28-long closer “If I Had A House” get lost in that shuffle.
Today We’re Believers shows that Royal Canoe is in good company amongst its contemporaries, chiefly its closest cousin, Foster the People. Now they just need to vary the mix more and spike the punch with Red Bull to maintain the party that is their sound.
Essential Tracks: “Hold On To The Metal”, “Bathtubs”