Album Review: The Baketones - Unite

Review by Mario Gautreau

When Noisography sent me this album to review, I was a bit caught off guard.
As I’m not a Halifax local (Moncton-born, raised and residing), I don’t know any of the quirky anecdotes a band like The Baketones must have. Their scruffy brand of angst-laden garage-rock certain seems like it could start dance-offs, with guitar solos causing guys to crowd-surf at their shows and -- I’m sure -- hang from the rafters at The Seahorse. But in any event, you don’t need to be from the town to appreciate the band. Unite, the band’s 16-track debut LP, is a testament to how awesome the possibilities are of combining garage rock, stone-age grunts, old school organs, adrenaline-fuelled sing-alongs, a couple of brews and a spice-rack of genres and influences thrown in a blender, agitated and provoked. On record, they’ve captured a sound that compliments the style; and I get the feeling their live show could easily call you out to a Western-style showdown and shoot at your toes just to see you dance for the drunken fun of it.

The do-what-I-want lyrics call out the listener to get up and vent his/her frustrations as well as have fun. The music gives the ultimatum of "Either you're part of the party, or you're part of the problem." The first half of the album is relentless in its grasp, the songs bouncing off each other like sweaty bodies in a mosh pit. The back-up chorus of harmonies (and of kazoos) in “The Boomerang” was a refreshing surprise as a bit of release from the aggressive vibe of the first half of the album. But by no means does the second half feel any less immediate or smell any less like rock'n'roll: there's a cohesiveness of sound throughout the album that has an infectious toe-tapping quality to it that could also provoke furies of fist-pumps, random instances of mosh-pits and air-guitar competitions, and randomly grabbing life's ballbag. As an added bonus, there’s no redundancy on the album; no mean feat when you got two 8-packs of ‘em on the album. Each tune has its vibe and its place in making the album chug, crunch and wail on.

Through and through, the band dips their fingers in jars of peanut butter, chocolate spread, honey, hell, even Vegemite, and comes out on the other side with a guttural and tasty concoction. Sure, its mélange of tastes looks questionable and some people might look at you funny, but The Baketones come out of the music kitchen with a creation they could sell at any fine dining establishment with any sense of taste. The obvious stand-out in their sound is the organ, which coats the songs in delicious overtones, while some rip-roaring guitar solos and great drum and bass combos prove the band has talent coming from all corners of their jam room. There's a certain urgency in their sound that says "Fuck that, I'm not wasting my time trying to explain things to you, if you don't get it, it's your loss. See you on the flip-side." Unite is a great rockin' therapeutic release, and I'm sure The Baketones' live shows make for some kickass group sessions.


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