Kensington Market Avenue Road

Kensington Market Avenue Road
Don’t let the name fool you, Toronto, ON’s Kensington Market were born of ’60s-era Yorkville, back when the neighbourhood was the nation’s Haight-Ashbury. Managed by Bernie Finkelstein (founder of True North Records, at the time a mover in the Canadian pop scene), Kensington Market’s short career reflected the zeitgeist of ’60s Canada. They scored a film for the NFB, played during Expo 67, took loads of psychedelic drugs and upstaged Jefferson Airplane at a Hamilton gig. Avenue Road’s cover shows the five men laughing through a snowstorm, which nicely summarises their Northern approach to the California sound; you might call Avenue Road "polite psych.” The album blends several of the era’s most popular genres in a most sophisticated fashion — with a consistent base of tasteful pop melodies, the band explored blues (thanks to singer Luke Gibson’s heartfelt wail), psych, soul and roots rock, with tracks ranging from the precious to the guitar-driven. Avenue Road is a gem, an exciting reissue and a point of national pride for those of us with no interest in the Junos. (Pacemaker)