steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Buttless Chaps

"Love This Time" CD

Mint Records

Genres: indie pop, country rock

Mint Records
PO Box 3613
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6B 3Y6

Dec 15 - 21 2003

Who wants to be serious, anyway?  One of the main reasons The Buttless Chaps succeed is because they don't take themselves seriously.  Their music is funny from head to toe; their lyrics joke, mock, parody, and jest - anything for a laugh.  And yet, despite their comedic demeanor, this Victoria four-piece still manages to create that special type of ultra-melodic, infectious pop that Mint Records is known for.

Though primarily a country-rock band, on Love This Time, their fourth album, The Buttless Chaps have taken a step towards pure pop.  Although there is definitely some good ol' twang here and there, this record is very preoccupied with pulling off basic melodies - even if it means using some very non-Western synthesizers.  This formula is successful, although some of the band's best moments come in the times when Dave Gowans yields his trusty banjo.  A song like "Banjee" is a fine example; its downtrodden, folk-cum-country-cum-rock mixture is both moody and darn catchy.  You can just imagine yourself riding through the prairie horizon on horseback.  "Brotherhood," similarly, is a wonderful piece of infectious, dark folk-pop, and the opener, "18 Rabbits" is an instantly memorable tune, in all its melodic glory.

But the synth-based pop material is a main focus on Love This Time, and that's what is in abundance.  The title-track and "Fresh Horses" are fine examples; mixing synthesizers with vocals, percussion, and some nice strings, the latter is a joyous romp with lyrics based around the human enigma that is Molly Ringwald.  I like it, though I'm more of an Ally Sheedy fan myself.  "Shuttle Systems," meanwhile, is one of the best of its type; hardcore synths form the backbone for Gowans' strong, infectious vocals, which are impressively melodic, to say the least.

Love This Time takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've warmed up to it, it's quite a treat.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 11 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]