Michael Rault

Living Daylight

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Toronto-based moustache rocker Michael Rault and his longtime running buddy from his old hometown of Edmonton, Renny Wilson, know a thing or two about making records that sound older than either of them. They no doubt did some heavy studying of various strains of psych rock along the way. The 2015 album they recorded together, Living Daylight, has the woody, almost musty feel of a thrift-store LP, one that nobody's ever heard of but gets bought anyway because the cover is cool. Like canny thrift-store shoppers, Rault and Wilson fill their cart with the best psych rock sounds, then take their scores home to upcycle them into something shiny and new. Using bits of garage rock bluster, plenty of T. Rex swagger (especially in Rault's vocals, which come complete with Bolan-esque grunts and whoops) and bongos, some Beatles-y freak pop, and a little bit of phased-out psychedelic weirdness, the album comes off as a slick repurposing of the past, but also has a modern kick. That's down to the crystal-clear production, but also thanks to Rault's way with a hook. He writes killer singalong jams ("Real Love [Yeah]"), dancefloor fillers ("All Alone [On My Own]"), goofy rockabilly larks ("I Wanna Love You"), and very Lennon-y mystical ballads ("Lost Something") that show Lenny Kravitz how it's really done. He makes side trips into some heavy blues-rocking on "Hiding from a Heartbreak," fast bopping rock & roll on "Suckcess," and late-night soul laments with the Seeds-quoting "Lovers Lie," each diversion made with impeccable style by the duo. The only blip is the too-campy-by-half cover of the old chestnut "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes," which just clutters things up with its jokiness. The rest of Living Daylight is a serious blast, full of sure-handed gravedigging done right and sporting enough deadly catchy songs to put the average garage rocker to shame.

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