Cherry Suede, Cherry Suede

Cherry Suede, Cherry Suede

Canadian rock music has a relatively long and impressive history and includes a whole host of recording artists who have successfully spearheaded and maintained careers that have produced extremely memorable songs. As potential candidates, add to this list functional newcomers Cherry Suede of Ottawa, Ontario, with their recently-released, self-titled debut album featuring group members Randy Scott (lead vocals, guitar), Randy Young (guitar, vocals), Eric Holden (bass), Craig MacIntyre (drums), and Zach Provost (keyboards).

Great music has always had a way of making national boundaries pretty much evaporate. Following a tried-and-true course that has launched such outstanding bands as The Guess Who, Rush, Pat Travers, Alanis Morrisette, and many others, Cherry Suede seeks to weigh in with their own particular take on rock in a market that traditionally enjoys a unique affinity with the northernmost U.S. cities. Having paid their dues by developing a substantial following in their home province, they are now starting to enjoy some notable airplay on both sides of the national border.

Their ten-cut first album proper is a slick and engaging set of songs which injects their personal timbre into retrofitted styles reminiscent of the ’80s, smack-dab between the powerful chording of Bryan Adams and the lighter-pop-dipping sounds of Loverboy. The recording mix is put together beautifully, in a way that enhances each individual musician and further lends credence to the engineering and production helmanship of Rick Slater (who also produced Blondie and Keith Richards).

The result is a smoothly-honed package of swaying moderate rock pieces that deftly and pretty consistently hit just the right harmonies and riffs in just the right places. Effectively hitting a dead-center, middle-of-the-road spectrum in the musical fields marked out by fellow Canadians Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s heavy-riff-to-pop numbers and Nickelback’s more recent post-grunge booming, frontmen/band leaders “Randy & Randy” have staked out a slice of rock territory well worth revisiting and revamping. They’ve included rousing pop choruses that will draw in Bon Jovi enthusiasts and sufficiently tromping rhythmic sections that will satisfy more fist-lofting fans, as well.

Though there really are no disposable tracks to mention, stand-out tunes worthy of special dubs include the opening cut, “Not A Day Goes By,” the band’s Bryan Adams-esque airplay-magnet staple, the personifying “Miss Jealousy,” the lighter-sided, hauntingly harmonica-garnished “Since You’ve Been Gone,” and “Why,” with its laidback keyboard vibe invoking Loverboy’s “This Could Be The Night.” Alongside the first cut, my personal favorites are the Bon Jovi-mirrored “Learning How To Let You Go” and “What You Do To Me,” another well-crafted mix of infectious lyrics and instrumentation.

Of course, Cherry Suede still has a considerable way to go before they see their band name stamped on the Canadian Walk Of Fame. On the nit-picky side, there are a couple of sections where the vocals could have been a bit less pinched and more soulful than delivered. Most of their songs, however, already bear the indelible marks of excellent road-testing, effecting an overall debut venture that many other groups take a triad of albums or more to attain. Though this first effort is nowhere near Bryan Adam’s Reckless or Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet in stature, there are several moments that skirt the quality of Adam’s Cuts Like A Knife. Those who like an ’80s kind of feel to their rock will undoubtedly enjoy Cherry Suede to the hilt.


Review by . Review posted Thursday, August 14th, 2008. Filed under Reviews.

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