By Ryan Pike
Ambition is a tricky thing. In the music world, ambition manifests itself as doing something longer, smarter or better than before. For Calgary-based rockers The Summerlad, their latest album, City of Noise, represents their most ambitious release to date. The album features a mere two of songs and lasts almost 45 minutes.
City of Noise is the fifth release by The Summerlad and technically would be considered a full-length. Y’see, it features two songs: “City of Noise,” an energetic four-minute rock number, and “City of Noise,” a 40-minute “exploration” of the aforementioned rock song as performed at last year’s High Performance Rodeo. While the first song is fairly standard Summerlad fare, the second delves into uncharted terrain–the track is much more roaming and ambient than previous work. The song explores a lot of different soundscapes over the duration and takes about 15 minutes to get anywhere. It’s very ambitious and may’ve been great in a live setting, but on an album would’ve been better served hacked up into smaller servings. As it stands, it’s a tremendous piece of work, but is far too schizophrenic to be completely cohesive.
Anyone who likes good rock music will dig the short version of “City of Noise,” but the long version is not for everyone. Cutting up the 40-minute monolith into something less daunting for casual listeners would be great. Nevertheless, the album is a fascinating listening experience.