Independent / Bandcamp.
SCQ Rating: 65%
North Lakes isn’t a folk band; that’s the realization these Prince Edward Island natives arrived at shortly after touring for their debut album Cobra. Two years later, Grand Prix is the summation of that insight, a quick dose of high-octane rock and roll. Chocked full of classic rock chords and speedway-on-cocaine tempos, the likes of “Avalanche” and “Vixen” ascend bar-band riffs and ride them until they’ve lost their punch.
Since the element of surprise usually topples around the two-and-a-half minute mark, that makes Grand Prix’s twenty-four minutes a pretty swift kick in the ass. Melodically “Vixen” has the upper hand on the competition, trading spoken-word swagger and jangly guitar with a memorably boisterous chorus. While everything preceding that closing track carries a comparable confidence, tracks such as “Grab Me By the Lapel” and “The Holy Water” thrash about in a bid to defend vulnerable centers. By no means are North Lakes trying to dress these songs up; each feels pretty upfront in their passion for straightforward, drunk-in-the-sun jams but that’s precisely where this album should remain – in the midst of lost weekends.
North Lakes make some convincing Can-Con noise with “Hands-Off Director” and “Baptism In Burgundy”, enough so that I’d feel lame delving into some perceived mastering flaws because I don’t think fans are going to care. For some, Grand Prix will be lovable as much for its limitations as for its strengths.