Parts Unknown Airshow

Parts Unknown are indeed one of the great unknown quantities in Toronto’s scruffy pop scene, which has suffered from neglect long enough. Those wounds are self-inflicted out of principle. In 1994, the Leisure Terrorists compilation of Toronto indie popsters including Neck, Made, A Tuesday Weld and Katrocket could plausibly have been a home grown equivalent to the legendary C86 sampler that brought the British indie scene of the ‘80s to a critical mass. But that generation has since hewed pretty doggedly to their aesthetic, even while the affections of the fickle music press, not to mention alt-whatever fans turned elsewhere. Not surprisingly, then, Airshow harkens back appealingly to the golden age of North American indie pop of roughly 1991 to ‘94. Unassumingly confident, played as well as it had to be, but more than filling its quota of hooks-per-song and played with that characteristic mix of ironic detachment and utter sincerity that marked the best of Unrest, Tsunami and too many other standard-bearers of the day to mention. Parts Unknown are by no means a nostalgia trip, but they do take you back to a somewhat better time. (Dot-Dash)