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Arkells - Michigan Left Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.75
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8
Production 9.25
Creativity 8.25
Lasting Value 9.25
Reviewer Tilt 9.25
Final Verdict: 88%
Member Ratings
Vocals 9.25
Musicianship 9
Lyrics 8.5
Production 9
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 9.5
Reviewer Tilt 9.5
Average: 90%
Inside AP.net

Arkells - Michigan Left

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (04/24/12)
Arkells - Michigan Left
Record Label: Universal Music Group Canada
Release Date: April 17, 2012


This is how it should always be.

Michigan Left, the sophomore album from Canadian rock quintet Arkells is everything that's right about rock music: swagger, energy, passion. The Juno Award-winning group's 10-song effort is air-tight with nary a dud. Album opener "Book Club," is buoyant, bright and undeniably brilliant. With shades of Springsteen, there's a charisma and confidence at work here that's hard to shake.

On the Hall and Oates-laced "Where U Going," the Canucks offer up soul-drenched pop that's breezy and autumnal. When vocalist Max Kerman sings "You keep telling me I'm alright, you keep telling me I'm fine," there's something freewheeling and effortless and makes for a most memorable four minutes. The title track returns to that gritty, blue-collar Springsteen sound and does so magnificently. Namedropping Curtis Granderson, Kerman and crew unravel a yarn about Detroit that's rollicking and timeless. The synth-fueled "On Paper," and the rollicking "Kiss Cam," are further proof that their 2012 Juno Award for Group of the Year was most definitely well deserved. For all the band's charms, the group is anchored by Kerman, who has a strong-lunged croon that seems to know its way around a verse and chorus. His talents lend themselves well to a near flawless rhythm section and strong guitar leads from Mike DeAngelis.

While the group wears its Springsteen influences on its sleeve, there's a decidedly Brit-rock feel to the cinematic "One Foot Out the Door," a call-and-response chant on the punchy "Whistleblower," and a Petty-esque verve on the anthemic "Bloodlines." And yet despite all the titanic choruses and radio-ready hooks, Michigan Left truly shines on the more understated and non radio-ready moments. Epic closer "Agent Zero," is a slow-moving affair that uses the talents of fellow Canadian Kathleen Edwards and builds towards a stirring finish; while the mid-tempo and ruminative "Coffee," channels indie upstarts Grouplove.

The album's producer Dan Griffin, who also serves as Arkells' keyboardist, has absolutely outdone himself. There's a shine and polish at work here that allows the band to accentuate all their strengths. There's no gimmicks or studio tricks; no computerized effects, just a simple, honest rock record with little filler and even fewer disappointments. From front to back Michigan Left is as strong as any album released this year and is the surefire arrival of one of rock music's most refreshing and rewarding outfits.

Hot damn, Canada has done it again.

Recommended If You Like The Gaslight Anthem, The Black Keys, Springsteen, Grouplove, Hall and Oates


Visit Them Here http://www.thearkells.ca
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 31
08:57 PM on 04/24/12
#2
Chris Fallon
Boom.
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Love this record. In all honesty, "Bloodlines" and "Book Club" deserve to be as popular as Gotye and fun.Very well-written review, Gregory. Glad you see the same brilliance in this album as I have.
09:46 PM on 04/24/12
#3
Deborah Remus
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Awesome job, glad to see this get a review! Only one tiny thing, there's no "the" in their name, but other than that I can't complain. Like Chris, I'm glad to see you enjoy this record too! I've been spinning this regularly since the Canadian release date and while it's poppier than Jackson Square, I think that change works for them.
11:43 PM on 04/24/12
#4
Gregory Robson
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Love this record. In all honesty, "Bloodlines" and "Book Club" deserve to be as popular as Gotye and fun.Very well-written review, Gregory. Glad you see the same brilliance in this album as I have.
I think "Book Club," should be flooding airwaves like woah.
05:21 AM on 04/25/12
#5
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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I'm gonna try to get to the Lydia show early enough to see them but I still haven't listened to any of their music

Definitely leaving before The Maine though lolz
05:50 AM on 04/25/12
#6
InfiniteArms
Foreign everywhere I've been
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I thought the RIYL was a bit off then I listened to them again and decided that they're pretty close and well thought of.
07:37 AM on 04/25/12
#7
Reece Wagner
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Great Canadian band. "Michigan Left" was my jam a few months ago. The only thing that bugs me is if I recommend them to people, half of them are gonna say "R. Kelly?"
08:52 AM on 04/25/12
#8
dash64
This Is My Design
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I really love this album, and I wish it would bring them into mainstream popularity. A great listen the whole way through. I'd give it a 90%
09:16 AM on 04/25/12
#9
Spenny
Hearts without chains.
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Book Club was definitely a top 10 song of 2011. The album as a whole is amazing as well.
10:13 AM on 04/25/12
phillipjacob
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Excellent review, I'm very excited to see them with Lydia in a few days.
10:21 AM on 04/25/12
Battle Hymns
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I enjoy Michigan lefts, there's less time sitting at the light that way.
11:25 AM on 04/25/12
Gregory Robson
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I'm gonna try to get to the Lydia show early enough to see them but I still haven't listened to any of their music

Definitely leaving before The Maine though lolz
I would actually stick around for The Maine. They actually put on a pretty first-rate rock show. And this is coming from someone that had never listened to a single song of theirs until last week.
11:31 AM on 04/25/12
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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I would actually stick around for The Maine. They actually put on a pretty first-rate rock show. And this is coming from someone that had never listened to a single song of theirs until last week.
I'll see if I'm in the mood. I'm going to this tour on May 6th but before that I have shows this Friday and Saturday and then next Wednesday and Thursday so I might just want to see Lydia and then go home
11:39 AM on 04/25/12
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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I'll see if I'm in the mood. I'm going to this tour on May 6th but before that I have shows this Friday and Saturday and then next Wednesday and Thursday so I might just want to see Lydia and then go home
I was actually tremendously disappointed by Lydia. But you may be a huge fan so I don't want to sour your evening.
11:42 AM on 04/25/12
Jeff_Ryan
easy come and easy go, whatever
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I was actually tremendously disappointed by Lydia. But you may be a huge fan so I don't want to sour your evening.
Haha I am, even though Paint It Golden wasn't my favorite by any means. If I got there, heard them play "Hospital", and then left, it would have been worth my time and money
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