New Music Review: Old Mare – You Deserve More [EP]

The 6-song You Deserve More EP from Abbotsford, BC’s own Old Mare is a folk rock trot down a country cobblestone boulevard after an early morning June rain.

This trot begins with the brooding romance Pistols at Dawn which gives a great first impression of what the rest of the album is going to deliver.  Lead singer and songwriter Chris Janzen weaves intense lyrical imagery throughout the entire 5-minute opener that leaves little to the imagination:

Well here I lie in the morning dew with my last breath thinking, thinking of you. With the bullet buried deep in my chest, but not before I put one in that son of a bitch. It was his brother that came to hold his coat that shot me down, and now I lie here waiting for Gabriel’s might trumpet to sound. 

I don’t want to begin this review with a “the first tune is the best tune, you guys,” but lyrically speaking, Pistols At Dawn is Janzen’s pulitzer. That’s not to take away from the other tracks on the EP, but this is the poetic gem.

Early Morning Disaster carries the torch passed to it by the previous tune and flows nicely with more lovely acoustic work blended subtly—and quite nicely, I might add—with trumpet melodies a-plenty.  In fact, the horn work on the whole album is wonderfully underplayed and just might be Old Mare‘s secret ingredient:  that one flavour that, unbeknownst to the listener, completes the main entrée.

The album’s title, You Deserve More comes from the chorus of Old Mare‘s lead-off single, Jealous Heart:

You deserve more than a jealous heart. 

One of Jealous Heart‘s highlights is the great guitar solo mid-song that harnesses the intensity of emotion the track beckons.  The rhythm, melody, and lyrics found here make it no surprise that it’s the album’s ambassador—that being said, it’s not my personal favourite, but don’t let my opinion dissuade you from listening! [In fact, never let my opinion stop you from listening to anything I write about.]

The final three tracks—Flood of 48, Cloak and Dagger, and Waiting—close out the album just as quickly as it began, but unlike the first half of the EP, these tracks bare a little more diversity than their predecessors.

For example, Flood of 48 tells the tale of the great flood of the Fraser River in 1948, all over tremelo’d electric guitar and pulsing drums.  For what it’s worth, this track is performed a little heavier live, and really rocks pretty hard.

If Flood of 48 is a little slow for your liking, Cloak and Dagger will perk you right back up.  It’s tempo is the quickest on the album and features a short-but-intriguing tempo change in the chorus that adds to the dynamic rather nicely.

Waiting closes out the album modestly with the intimacy of only Janzen’s voice and his guitar.  Janzen’s at his most vulnerable here but he doesn’t let it phase his him as he belts out some personal words.  It might just be my interpretation, but the song seems to allude to spiritual matters.

At just over 28 minutes, this delightful folk rock trot comes to an end.  I can’t help but wonder what a rock ‘n’ roll gallop from Old Mare would sound like, as this band from the valley definitely has the chops to pull something like that off.  Either way, Abbotsford should be proud to possess the talent the likes of Old Mare.

And with pride comes support:


~ by DR on April 28, 2012.

One Response to “New Music Review: Old Mare – You Deserve More [EP]”

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