Sixty Stories – Anthem Red

Sixty Stories
Anthem Red

I know what it’s like to do crack. Or, at least, now I can feasibly imagine what it’s like. The transcendent calm of that first hit, the overwhelming pleasure, and the relief. I know the sweats, the withdrawal, and the constant dominance it has on your consciousness.
I know all this because that’s the effect Anthem Red has on me. It’s an album so addictive you keep coming back for more. I’ve tried to kick it, said it wasn’t healthy to indulge in one album so much, but once I had put it back on the shelf, it sat there and taunted me. I’ve put it under the floorboards to escape it, but still it beckoned like a Tell Tale Heart. I knew I’d grab it soon enough and once again sing along with every single word.
Needless to say I’ve realized resistance is an exercise in futility. I’ve decided to fully embrace my love of the tight pop rhythms, female vocals, and sing-along choruses. I’m a much saner individual for it.
This Canadian trio is well aware that the quickest way to a person’s heart is melody and a catchy song. They’ve made an album with an abundance of both. But what’s most remarkable is, for how infectious it is, it refuses to grow old and tiresome on the listener’s ears. The music is power-pop akin to Weezer and That Dog, with a certain punk influence and accented by keyboard blips (courtesy of a computer). The opener, “Countdown,” begins with a short lullaby keyboard intro, relieved by guitar and Jo Snyder’s husky delivery, then Paul Frugale and Sarah Sangster come in and maintain a steady bounce that will keep your head bobbing in time. That’s about all the time it takes to be sucked in, 15 whole seconds.
The harder and more urgent tracks are some of the strongest, with the standout being “Second Hand Table and Chairs.” The chorus features the most notable and pleasing vocal harmony on the album (of which there are many). But even naming a standout track is subjective and risky, as all of it is consistently excellent and cohesive. It would trouble even the most discriminatory listener to pick a favorite.
Anthem Red is a gem given to us from the depths of Canada. It’s ironic that a band from the Great White North has released the perfect summer album, one that should be played with the car windows rolled down. An anthem indeed, one so damn addicting you won’t want to come down.