Quebec’s answer to Temples if they wanted to make something radio-friendly
Corridor’s third album, their first on Sub-Pop, is my first. I hadn’t been aware of the Quebec based rock band before and apparently it is a bit of a sea change. Sub-Pop’s first French-speaking band bring plenty of drive and jangle to their rock for their streamlined album.
Apparently, previous Corridor albums have been created over years whereas ‘Junior’ had six tracks written in a single weekend. The album doesn’t feel rushed or samey – it feels cohesive. From the opening rousing riffs of ‘Topographe’ we are treated to Corridor’s love of a good hook, whilst title track ‘Junior’ offers a hark back to the psyche-rock 70’s that permeates the entire album. The production gives everything a waxy sheen from the guitars to the vocals – even the drums have an echoing crunch to them. I can see fans of Temples loving their sound for example.
The streamlined feel works on several levels because it lets the bass and the riffs drive the music forward. ‘Domino’ is a superb example where the guitars spasm and spurt over a running bassline that doesn’t quit. On the flipside, ‘Pow’ takes more cues from the likes of Spandau Ballad and the 80’s New Romantic era. The minimal keyboards and wooden percussion makes Corridor sound like they are trying to smash a huge track into four instruments. When the throbbing electric guitars really take off with the electronics, things really fly, as does the superb ‘Microscopie’ which nails the quirky psyche-rock style bands like Syd Arthur.
Elsewhere you can really feel the French Canadian vibe seeping through. ‘Goldie’, ‘Double Agent’ and ‘Grand Cheval’ all take a slower stride and in doing so play with a jazzier chord structure. Songs meander off the beaten path of rock chords and it really adds colour and flair to the album. The closing track ‘Bang’ is where Corridor puts in all the expense with a thick, powerful string orchestra. The track itself though is the slowest and most cinematic piece and hints at the bands want to include more ambient and world-building to their tracks. Perhaps its a throwback to their previous works where each song was poured over rather than naturally born in a long jam session.
‘Junior’ is a delightful album. I found myself towards the end of 2019 struggling to pull together a collection of rock albums that really struck a chord with me. Corridor managed just that. It carefully balances the gruffness of a grungy rock anthem, the jangle of psyche-rock and a little bit of quirky fun. A hidden gem.
Recommended track: Junior
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