In 2002 I spent six months living in Montreal and grew to love the city. But looking back, for the life of me I can’t figure out how I managed to miss out on the entire blossoming Canadian music scene!
Ironically, the last few years, every other album I’ve picked up that caused that rush of excitement you only get when you realise you’ve just discovered a little musical gem, turned out to be from Canada! Whether it was The New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene or The Arcade Fire and more recently Patrick Watson and the reason for this post: Rock Plaza Central.

I heard about their album “Are We Not Horses?” when it was originally released in 2006 and remember being fascinated by the fact it was a concept album about robotic horses. Excuse me? Yes indeed, robotic horses. However, as is often the case, it wasn’t to be released in Holland until much later. Thankfully I came across it on its release here last month and decided to give it a go, and I was far from disappointed! What started out as a very reluctant listening session, expecting some rediculous horsy lyrics and far fetched musical arrangements, ended up with me listening to the album front to back. Twice. Which is a scarce event in these digital times where each song stands alone.

Rock Plaza Central - Are We Not Horses [2006]

Chris Eaton’s voice which sometimes plaintatively rambles (Anthem for the Already Defeated) and is sometimes brimming with gusto (My Children, Be Joyful), the rich instrumentation with beautiful violin, all types of brass and accordion (the orchestral approach is definitely a recurring theme in the “Canadian Wave” and it’s major appeal to me), the quirky but never corny lyrics and the way it brushes up against country music in a very contemporary way, it all makes for a very surprising and great record! July 2007 is probably a bit late to be editing your best of 2006 lists, but don’t let this one get away!

Check out what some of the Canadian fuss is about:

Rock Plaza Central (personal recommendations: How Shall I to Heaven Aspire & Anthem For The Already Defeated) myspace /

The New Pornographers (personal recommendations: The End of Medicine & Letter From an Occupant) myspace /

The Arcade Fire (personal recommendations: Rebellion (Lies) & Black Wave/Bad Vibrations) myspace (not available on yet)

Patrick Watson (personal recommendations: Luscious Life & The Great Escape) myspace /