Since returning from a weekend in Toronto a couple weeks ago, I’ve been hoping to hear more from Canadian artists because I think there are so many cool bands up north that no one in the States has heard about. In the case of G. Smith And The Bad Dreamers, you may have heard of bandleader Greg Smith’s other band-The Weakerthans. When not playing bass for the John K Samson-fronted cornerstone of indie rock, Smith writes and records with a supergroup of talent from the frozen tundra.
The Bad Dreamers includes J.J. Ipsen of J.J. Ipsen and The Paper Crown on bass and keys, Aaron Curtis from another of Smith’s projects The Two-Minute Miracle on drums, and Justin Nace on guitar and additional keys. That leaves Smith, the usual side-man dwelling in the depths, as the frontman. On their self-titled debut, he shows that he can do a lot more than play bass quietly in the corner, commanding your attention as he sings his heart out on track after track.
Smith’s tunes are a little bit lighter than the usual fare you’d find on a record by The Weakerthans. And while he isn’t quite the wordsmith that Samson is, Smith does have an excellent ear for crafting songs with lovely melodies and a momentum that never lets up through the 12 tracks in this collection. The music actually reminds me a little more of one of my favorite Canadian bands, The Wooden Sky. Lots of harmonies and laid back guitar riffs galore.
My favorite here is “The Key Is Into The Door.” It’s the Deja Vu-iest tune I’ve heard in a while and stands up to the repeatability test pretty well. “Baby baby let it take all night” they harmonize in a song that does more with what is unsaid than said. It’s a sweet number with a lingering sadness that makes the bouncy groove of the following song “The Sunshine” all the more important.
Certainly more than a vanity project, Dreamers plays like a group of musicians who know each other well enough to just have a good time. Different combinations of guys in the band show up in multiple other groups, so they’ve got their chemistry figured out and you’d be hard pressed to say they don’t sound like they’ve been together for years.
I knew from the first song that I was going to like this album. Released in April, there’s just enough sunny optimism to make this more of a “summer” record that fits well on your beached out days or your alcohol-fueled nights. Here’s hoping they continue together for a long while (and maybe even tour the USA sometime).
You can pick up Dreamers for $7 on Bandcamp.