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Album Review

Two Hours Traffic's third full-length album finds the Canadian pop/rock act, riding high off a Polaris Music Prize nomination for Little Jabs, aiming for something a touch moodier in lyrical feel if not necessarily in musical feeling — there's still an emphasis on immediate hook-driven, full-bodied songs, as ever sung with clean passion by Liam Corcoran, which "Noisemaker" demonstrates right from the start. Songs such as the title track show that Two Hours Traffic's ear not only for the various kinds of 1970s power pop they're often compared to but some of the more underrated 1990s avatars of that style is working in full effect. The not so secret weapon of their harmonies is often what makes a good song a great one for them, and "Happiness Burns" — with its pitch-perfect blend of lead vocals, backing wordless singing, and a surging, triumphant arrangement — is one of the album's strongest. When it comes to the more melancholy numbers, that similar sense of smiling through tears that the band clearly also appreciates comes further to the fore. The crisp drumming and dark bell-chime tones that introduce "Just Listen" seem perfectly suited to the story of collapsed relationships and concern that Corcoran softly if still somehow sunnily sings about. But even sharper might be "Drop Alcohol," with its stellar solo and harmony singing toward the end (in contrast, "Sing a Little Hymn" and its consideration of religious doubt has sharp music but somehow makes the complexity of its subject a touch too pat).


Formed: 2003 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Isla

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Named after a line from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, Two Hours Traffic are a Canadian indie rock band that blends influences like Big Star, Nick Lowe, and the Cars. Based out of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the band formed in 2003 when longtime friends Liam Corcoran and Alec O'Hanley joined with fellow University of PEI students Andrew MacDonald and Derek Ellis. That same year, they released The April Storm, a six-track EP that brought the band to the attention of Nova Scotia's leading indie...
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Territory, Two Hours Traffic
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