by Mark Anthony Brennan
Release Date:March 15th, 2014
I’m not sure whether it was the quirky band name or the baffling album title that first enticed me to check out Calgary’s Pine Tarts, but whatever it was I am sure glad I did because the Tarts are a delicious find. They are essentially noise pop but with a heavy emphasis on melody and lyrics.
The songs here can roughly be divided into two camps: there are the simple punk numbers like “Modern Lovin” and “Nothin Else”, and then there are the indie folk-rock sounds of “Green Moon” and “Medicine Boys & Girls” with their more complex, mystical lyrics. The former are sung with a British sneer and their multi-vocal choruses bring to mind The Clash circa 1978. The latter on the other hand are more poppy and melodic, and their lyrics will mess with your head (“…her lips kissed the berries of the meadow where he’d be born a thousand summers later…”). However, the Pine Tarts truly shine when they bring these two camps together, such as on “Young Summer” and especially on “Mosel”, a frenetic-paced song about hitch-hiking from Victoria to Calgary with such high, noisy, jangly energy that it leaves you (pleasantly) exhausted.
There is nothing particularly new about noise pop, punk pop or psychedelic rock, but the Pine Tarts’ take on it all is both thrilling and thought-provoking — a unique combination that makes them pretty special.