Sonic Avenues

Mistakes

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Is it punk? Is it pop? Mistakes, the third album from Montreal foursome Sonic Avenues, has enough melodic hooks and massed harmonies that many of the tracks would fit like a glove on one of the Poptopia! compilations, while the big guitars, pounding drums, speedy tempos, and bellow-along choruses will warm the heart of anyone who digs their punk old-school. So what is it? Let's just say it's rock & roll, and it's a blast: if this band sounded promising on their first two long-players, with Mistakes Sonic Avenues have made an album as joyously exciting as anything likely to cross your path, wildly enthusiastic like a room full of eight year olds fed all the cake they want and as canny about what makes a great song as anyone with an office in the Brill Building. Part of the kick of Mistakes is the sheer precision and impact of this band -- guitarists Max Desharnais and Seb Godin make their twin axes sound like an army in these sessions, while drummer JC Niquet is a dynamo with taste and swing to spare, bassist Chance Hutchison adds both punch and a solid bottom end to the arrangements, and Desharnais' vocals lead the charge beautifully when the group raise their voices as one. Songs like "Automatic," "Tired, Bored and Alone," and "In Your Head" don't really tell us that much new about life among the teens and twenties, but through sheer force and belief they make them sound powerful and relevant, as real as what happened to you this afternoon and even more exciting. Sonic Avenues have mixed the raw and the hooky as well as anyone working along these lines, and if it's a little early in their career to start declaring masterpieces, there are literally hundreds of bands that would be proud to deliver an album that connects with the fervent impact of Mistakes. If you still believe in rock & roll, you should give this a listen at your soonest convenience.

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