New Album from “The Active Scanner”

Just in time for that first Spring barbecue, Saskatchewan rockers The Active Scanner have released the follow up to their massively successful underground self-titled debut with their new effort, “Touch, Don’t Feel.” (T,DF) No matter what your expectations are, you will not be disappointed.

The Active Scanner have emigrated from the pseudo-punk-country camp, to instead engage listeners with a moxie melange of styles previously unbeknownst.  The opening cut, “Fall on your swords, ladies” is a taught affair, rife with squelching guitars, a chorus of broken trumpets, and a Hammond organ which I can only describe as dessicated, all blaring in competition with each other like coked-up-horses at a $20,000 buy-in race the weekend after the Kentucky Derby.  And that’s just the first 6 seconds!

The pace slows by the second song, quite drastically.  The frenetic gait is exchanged for a lolligag of a waltz, slow enough to frighten molasses.  A thumping bass line is played by, you guessed it, a bass.  Strauss be damned, these prairie pariahs are a new breed of musicologists, ready willing and able to take the rule book and eat it for dessert.  By the third song on the album, if the listener is still breathing, the band relaxes into a three-chord pop song that would give sucralose a cavity.  The catchy hook in “Standing on the legislature” is as good as any Beach Boys, Beatles, or Backstreet Boys comeback special.  You will hate yourself for loving it, and love yourself for hating it.  This is always the sign of an immaculate pop creation.

T,DF is not just eclectic, but it’s also a concept album.  As the pages unfold in the form of songs, we learn the story of a garbage collector who, high on crystal meth, challenges a white-tailed deer to a boxing match.  Without giving away the thrilling conclusion to both the story and the album, the deer wins.

Other key tracks include the morose, “Sleepy time for coma-guy”, and the bizarrely titled, “Gab gob sniggly jig.”  The Tragically Hip they are not, which is definitely the truth.  These wheat-fuelled guitarosos know how to forge a classic album, which is lucky, because they’re all 73.

Let’s just hope they have enough orange juice in the tank for a third album!

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