Published Aug 10, 2014Ottawa-bred alt-rockers the Riot Police have achieved an admirable degree of success within their hometown. Having moved their operation to Toronto for the foreseeable future, the young five-piece are now looking to establish themselves in a new part of the province with a sophomore record, The Crossing.
It should come as a surprise to no one that the record's greatest strength is in the vocal work of Alex Boyd and Ian Sabourin. Both choristers in the Christ Church Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys, with the latter also attending the University of Ottawa for vocal music theory, the duo's execution of harmonies proves consistent across all ten tracks. The two also take credit as co-writers, and while the vivid poeticism of songs such as "She is the Night" and "The River Styx" shows a step forward in their writing, they at times remain trapped in the repetitive tropes of failed relationships they talked of leaving behind with the sophomore release. The downcast "Pressed for Time" and an edgier rerecording of 2011's "Road to Nowhere" present the band at their most meagre, though they aren't always down and out. They demonstrate spiritedness on "Choirboy" and the closing title track, though the thin-sounding MIDI brass and keyboards have a tendency to cheapen the uplifting nature of both compositions.
The Crossing shows some steps forward for the Riot Police in their young career, and time is certainly on their side for perfecting their craft. In a new city with a new set of learning experiences ahead, it could one day result in more hits than misses. (Independent)