There's nothing particularly unexpected on Play For Keeps for anyone who has crossed paths with the band before, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The synth-heavy songs like the horribly titled "Sexual Intellectual" are reminiscent of hellogoodbye, whereas the guitar-led ones lean more heavily towards the likes of Arkells or Hollerado.
Overall, the album is almost unrelentingly upbeat and bouncy, albeit with a lack of bite. So when the buzzing guitars kick in on "So Down Low," there's a release of wonderfully exuberant tension that they unfortunately don't repeat often enough. Some more spikiness like this would have really helped to punctuate the 12 songs when they begin to merge together.
As it stands, there's plenty to like about Play For Keeps: the lads from Keswick, Ontario do know have to craft a catchy song, and there's a handful here that you'll keep humming for quite a while after the record finally stops spinning. (Hidden Pony)