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Michigan Left

Arkells

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Album Review

Following the success of their Springsteen-esque Juno Award-winning debut album, Jackson Square, Ontario five-piece Arkells continue to pilfer the sounds of the '80s blue-collar rock scene with their sophomore effort, Michigan Left. The Boss' influence is still very much evident throughout its ten tracks, from the "Dancing in the Dark"-ish synths of "On Paper" to the rousing heartland anthem of "Bloodlines." But second time round, the Canadians have delved much further into their vintage record collection for inspiration. Inspired by the university where the band formed, the groove-laden "Where U Goin" echoes the feel-good blue-eyed soul of Hall & Oates; "One Foot Out the Door" blends the atmospheric MOR of Mike + the Mechanics with the chiming widescreen rock of U2; while on the energetic "Whistleblower," frontman Max Kerman channels the impassioned vocal tones of Michael Hutchence against a backdrop of rumbling basslines, echo-laden guitars, and call-and-response chants. As authentic as these retro offerings are, it's only when they ditch their Now That's What I Call the '80s handbook, as on the angular indie pop of opener "Book Club" and the slow-building proggy finale, "Agent Zero" (bizarrely dedicated to NBA star Gilbert Arenas), that they avoid becoming just another generic and over-earnest guitar band. With its several skyscraper choruses and super-sized hooks, Michigan Left will no doubt continue Arkells' ascension into the upper echelons of the Canadian rock scene, but there's little here likely to inspire the next generation of stadium rock stars. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

awesome

just as good if not better than Jackson Square, the Arkells have done it again! a truly great rock album, one of the year's best!

Must buy

Good follow up. Great live band. Love the Arkells

Curse of the 2nd album

I LOVED 'Jackson Square' but it seems that little of what loved about that album carried over to 'Michigan Left'. To me, any song off of 'Jackson Square' could have been successful as a single, it was an extremely solid album. The two singles off of this album, 'Whistleblower' and 'Kiss Cam', are the only two songs that could be successful as singles and I understand why they picked them.

It seemed like this album was suspiciously soon to arrive and, upon listening, I understand why. They simply didn't spend enough time making each song unique.

Biography

Formed: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Juno Award-winning Canadian rockers Arkells, named after the Hamilton, Ontario street on which they rehearsed, formed in 2006. They self-released their debut EP, Deadlines, in 2007 before seeing it reissued the following year on the Canadian independent label Dine Alone. The band's first long-player, Jackson Square, arrived in 2008, and resulted in a 2010 Juno Award for New Group of the Year. It was...
Full bio
Michigan Left, Arkells
View In iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: Oct 18, 2011
  • Parental Advisory

Customer Ratings

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