Arkells recorded most of their new record, Morning Report, in Toronto, but it feels like the constant touring across the States made it’s way into the sound on which they decided. Right off the bat on, “Drake’s Dad,” you can feel the Stax influence as Max Kerman sings about Beale Street in Memphis. Morning Report is very much a studi0-recorded road album. You can hear little pieces of towns they visited (many multiple times over the last year or so) and absorbed. It’s probably a bit like Dave thought Sonic Highways was going to be, except Morning Report wasn’t documented for TV and doesn’t feel so forced and disposable.
The single “Private School” has a real “E-Pro” Beck vibe in the verse before it branches out into a power-pop anthem in the chorus.
It makes sense, considering the band worked with one of Beck’s collaborators on their last album-a testament to both the quality of work they did together and the reach of Beck’s influence on band’s twenty plus years into his career.
I caught Arkells at SubT (where they’re playing again in November) back in April, and I was impressed by their high-energy music, but also their loyal fans. Many of them traveled multiple hours, whether they were coming from Fort Wayne, IN or the band’s hometown of Hamilton, ON. Morning Report feels very much a record for them-almost like they wanted to take everyone on tour with them.
A band spends long days driving on the road, being away from home for weeks or months at a time. They play shows and get showered with love for a couple hours, then it’s back on the road again. I couldn’t imagine living that life, but Max Kerman and the rest of the band have given me a pretty good insight into what it’s like for them. It seems like a lot of fun, but also horrible and lonely. Not a dichotomy I would handle well.
These guys seem to do ok with it, though. It’s taught them about what’s important and helped them figure out what they want to do as a band. If their mission is to make albums that people will enjoy for years to come, they’ve exceeded their goal.