I can still remember when Mr. Dunnington (or Joe LaSecla if you’re nasty) let me borrow a copy of this band called Alexisonfire in late 2004. He didn’t warn me about how hard my face was about to get rocked, but I forgive him, and even thank him for my facial tenderizing.
Not to be confused with the porn website of the same name that I “accidently” traveled to in order to reach the bands website, Alexisonfire has gone platinum in Canada three times already, with a fourth platinum record to be delivered very soon I’m sure, with the release of their latest album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals.
People ask me to describe what the band is like, and the first thing that usually comes to mind, is to imagine if Heaven and Hell were to make a truce for the day and create an album on the state of the world. With the hamfist-in-the-face screaming of George Pettit and axe work/demon-noise of Wade MacNeil, combined with the good vibrations of Chris Steele and Angelic axe/ soul-song of Dallas Green, you have one of the best combinations in Post Hardcore to date. And all the while we have Jordan Hastings bringing us down to Earth with his drumming, ever since his joining of the band in 2005.
I’ve honestly never seen a better pairing of vocalists in a band before. Personally, Dallas Green has been one of my favorite front men in music for quite a long time. He’s known for absolutely killing choruses that he sings on (my people call ‘killing’ a chorus as an endearing term mind you) for years, while also known outside the band for his side project City and Colour. Green tickles the ivory now and again across the bands albums (this time the organ on The Northern and Burial), and maintains his standing this year with a great performance.
But I digress. OC/YC opens powerfully with the track Old Cardinals, but not too quickly. I admire this because it gave us time to really set the tone of the album to a feeling of epic proportion. Its lyrics hint of an evolution of our generation with “we are not the kids we used to be/stop wishing for yesterday”. Perhaps it also hints at the death of old ways, and becoming the young cardinals of tomorrow.
Appropriately so, the second track, Young Cardinals, picks up the pace and changes the subject matter to something much more relevant for a young cardinal to ponder about; the state of our world as we sit and watch it. Perhaps the band is referring to the kids who so far don’t know the dangers and deceit of our world just yet. With lyrics like this, it’s hard not to think so:
Oh Young Cardinals
Nesting in the trees
Oh hear our songs
Reign your innocence on me
This album is so emotionally charged, that it’s hard to keep this a simple review. The overall theme of the album seems that we are the ones who were meant to take on the burden of those before us, in a way that has never been done before; and Born and Raised reminds me of that task ahead, and what we go through in the minds of my generation.
The eighth track, Emerald Street gives me nostalgia of the themes referred to in the bands 2004 album Watch Out!, with the theme being a broken down society, with us barely being able to scrape by in the forgotten neighborhoods and halfway houses.
Above all though, Midnight Regulations gave me the biggest sense of appreciation for this album. Not only because of the incredible changeup in the chorus instrumentals, or Dallas Greens’ spot on method of singing said chorus; but also the subject matter which made me feel like it was describing how I feel about the mentioned ‘common man’ of the song. Not only is it the best song on the album, but one of the best singles of the year; and it will be hard to match the rich content of this one.
From the passing of the easy days with opening song Old Crows, to the set standards we face of Born and Raised, to waving to the girls of Emerald Street, to the world Heading for the Sun, and finally to the sun hiding and leaving us cold with the ending track, Burial, Alexisonfire is at its best.
This is easily on my top ten albums of the year list, with a definite foothold in the top three while I’m at it. The album is already out, and I expect you to get this one, if not for the amazing music composition, then at least to wake up and hear where our lives are headed. Well played boys.
Until next time my friends,
Bonus: Check out the video for Young Cardinals below!