Published Nov 21, 2014Montreal-based, self-proclaimed "dirty pop" band Nancy Pants are ready for their close-up. After performing with various local bands including Mori, Adam & The Amethysts and Miracle Fortress, singer/guitarist Ohara Hale and singer/bassist Adam Waito conceived their new musical project on a road trip to an indie comic book convention where they were to showcase their illustrative wares. They soon enlisted drummer Jeremy MacCuish, from Nanimal fame, and Nancy Pants were on their way to record their new debut album, Total Nancy Pants. Vocal duties on the album's 11 tracks are shared between Waito and Hale, and they complement each other quite well, with Waito's deeper timbre and mellow delivery contrasting with Hale's alluringly screechy yelps, which are fully displayed on "Duke of IRL."
The result is easy lo-fi '60s garage rock, demonstrated best by the band's catchy first single "Happy," a great introduction to the trio's sound. By the time "Somebody" kicks off, you're fooled into thinking you're in for a cover of "Tequila Song" by the Champs, until they veer deep into Nancy Sinatra territory in the chorus. Some of the songs begin and end with snippets of the band's conversations during their recording sessions, adding a distinct DIY aesthetic to the album, such as on "Borderline," a charming ode to the power of self-helping mantras. Waito's vocals are featured more prominently on album standout "Halley's Comet," which makes a strong case for him being featured more often in future releases. Memories of high school dances and community centre punk shows are evoked in the swelling groove and call-and-response lyrics of "Prom," and highlights the fact that while Nancy Pants are pop in essence, they're definitely punk in execution (the bombastic drum-filled "I Didn't Say" functions similarly).
The only slow song to be found comes in the form of "Truly," a simple ballad that reaches a beautiful crescendo in its chorus "I loved you truly truly truly, and I love you if only just tonight." The song, which recalls meeting up with an ex for that ill-advised final drink, ends sweetly, with some nice instrumentation. Total Nancy Pants marks an assured and enchanting debut for this Montreal trio, and cements them as yet another Montreal band to look out for. (Independent)