The Greg Cockerill Band Festuca

The fact that Greg Cockerill is inspired by the likes of Justin Rutledge, Neil Young and the Canadian rock scene of the '90s didn't need to be pointed out in his press kit; it's obvious in the incessant organ, muddied, fuzzed-out guitar and parade of anonymously pleasant rock riffs. There are a few standout moments on Cockerill's second album, Festuca. "Sorry" is a sweet and sad lament to a lost lover. "Guns or Water" has a sense of urgency that works in its favour. The album's opening track, "Highway Tonight," has a lively Blue Rodeo quality that adds charm to the song, despite the ceaseless repetition of the announcement, "We're headin' on the highway tonight." There's a statement in Cockerill's bio that perfectly encapsulates my attitude about Festuca: his first album received "zero critical reception yet regular cross Canada airplay." This makes perfect sense, as Cockerill's songs are pleasant enough for radio play, but none of them are particularly interesting. Also, apparently he was also once a big deal in Malaysia. (Independent)