The Sadies' Darker Circles excels on disc and stage
The Sadies' Darker Circles won't be released until May 18 (through Outside Music in Canada and Yep Roc elsewhere), but the Toronto quartet launched the album with an April 26 performance at the intimate Rivoli.
The Sadies are my favourite local band and I've seen them dozens of times, to the point where they've likely surpassed The Lowest Of The Low as the group I've witnessed the most in my life. I'll add to the total on May 22, when the band plays Toronto's Lee's Palace, where the guys and many of their musical friends recorded Live In Concert — Volume 1. And I don't think I've ever been disappointed.
This was the case again at Monday's too-short showcase, where The Sadies played 20 minutes of material from Darker Circles before ending with crowd favourite "Tiger Tiger," which came complete with Travis and Dallas Good simultaneously playing Travis' guitar.
I'm sure I've heard a few of the songs from the new album mixed in with older cuts at Sadies shows I've attended over the past few months, but this was the first time they were put out there on their own. And they passed the audition with flying colours.
"They just keep getting better," a friend standing beside me at the show rightly observed. "It's really not fair."
Darker Circles follows a similar path as its predecessor, 2007's New Seasons, and again was produced by Jayhawks member Gary Louris. The Sadies effortlessly blend their alt.country and psychedelic rock influences and focus on complete compositions, as the album-closing 'Ten More Songs" is the only instrumental on the 11-track record.
Neither Dallas nor Travis are classic crooners, but their voices fit the material and their intricate yet powerful guitar licks play off each other so cohesively that you'd swear the two of them shared bloodlines even if you didn't know they were brothers. Upright bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belitsky are as solid as ever on the back line to complete the package.Darker Circles may take a few more listens before it impacts me the same as some of The Sadies' earlier albums, but it has a place in my top 10 of 2010 list so far.