Energetic Canadians Shred Kelly are back with their new album Archipelago which features the signature blend of traditional folk and electronic rock that makes them such an interesting band. Banjos are not often used in a modern alt rock style, or with a voice as beautiful as Sage McBride’s (the track Wasting Time being a particular stand out for vocals) but this mix of modern rock and classic folk gives them the unique sound that has helped garner them fans.
The album is bursting with energy. Tracks like Don’t Ever Look Back or the exciting Stay Gold are guaranteed to be floor fillers at live shows. Shred Kelly have an ability to translate the joyful feel of a live show perfectly; the album feels like a social gathering even when listening alone.
When Shred Kelly are not moving people to and fro across a dance floor their slower tracks like Way Down and Weightless will have people swaying slowly without a care in the world. There might even be an array of lighters (or phone flashlights) across the audience.
Title track Archipelago is a great opener for the album as it perfectly captures the feel of Shred Kelly. Both the heartfelt slow passages and the bouncing energy of the group are present here. If there were to be any criticism of the album, it would be that it rarely ventures far from their established sound.
Every song is roughly the same length, excluding the closing instrumental and they do all feel a bit like the same song. The slow tracks never get too slow and the faster ones likewise cap at a certain tempo. This lack of variety is what stops Archipelago from being a better album.