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White Knuckled Midnight Drives

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Formed on a foundation that is equal parts roots rock and sweet melodic-driven pop, this Calgary unit takes making feel-good music a priority above everything else. Led by singer and guitarist James Hayden, the band throws a few twists along the way, especially on "Blue Turns to Black" with its brief stray into bells and blips during the chorus and the concluding doo wop harmonies. The subtlety of the horns and piano on "Expectations" are also pleasing and emit a happy-go-lucky attitude. Only in a few places do the numbers drag, with "Greater Than the Sum" out of place in the album's order if not the album entirely. "Secondhand" exemplifies some of the group's highlights, the mix of guitar work over a basic rhythm section, resembling Lowest of the Low or even Bruce Springsteen at his rootsy best. "In the Silence" is perhaps the best track of the lot, a deliberately paced pop/rock song moving between a cheesy organ and a few straightforward guitar riffs. "Curtain" and "Climbin'" tend to move in the same manner, both very poppy and upbeat but too similar to be memorable.