The Strumbellas My Father and the Hunter

The Strumbellas My Father and the Hunter
If this full-length debut from the Strumbellas, a Toronto, ON seven-piece originally from the much smaller neighbouring community of Lindsay, ON, accomplishes anything, it's in giving singer-songwriter Simon Ward the opportunity to get many things off his chest. Over the course of a taut 12 songs in 36 minutes, Ward wails convincingly about revenge, unseen demons and doomed love affairs as if he's stepped directly out of the pages of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Compelling stuff, and his six compatriots, playing a range of acoustic instruments at full throttle, provide more than adequate support. Yet the breakneck tempos and gang choruses are the most obvious influence of producer Cone McCaslin (yes, from Sum 41) and, unfortunately, it sounds as if his only connection to folk music has been listening to Avett Brothers and Fleet Foxes records. The Strumbellas have much more potential than that and My Father and the Hunter only scratches the surface. (Fontana North)