For convenience’s sake I shortened the full title of this “album.” The full title is EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, FRAGILE creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations. It’s a lengthy title, no doubt, but it’s completely suited to Joel Plaskett, one of Canada’s national treasures whose career has spanned decades.
Plaskett is set to release a new album this fall (!!!) but in the meantime he has provided fans with another superb treat- this compilation of 20 songs consisting of demos, outtakes, rarities and b-sides. And what a treat this is. The compilation encompasses Plaskett’s work from 1999-2010
There is a lot to love on this album, right from the beginning to the end. Almost every one of these 20 songs becomes memorable quickly, so much so that you might find yourself singing along on the second or third listen.
Here you can hear older songs like “Come On, Teacher” and “Clueless Wonder” (the latter of which is dreamy and surreal, a rather unforgettable song). You can also hear Plaskett and the Emergency cover Irma Thomas’ “Hurt’s All Gone.”
There’s also brilliance to be heard post-Three such as the songs “On the Rail” and “When I Go.” The former is an optimistic pop-rock piece that would definitely inspire singing at a show. The latter is in my opinion the most beautiful on the compilation. It’s an acoustic piece with quick strumming and female backing vocals. In the chorus Plaskett sings “Lover you gonna come with me when I go? Don’t say a word if you’re gonna say no.”
You can hear Plaskett’s rock side on songs like “Drunk Teenagers” and “Snowed In.” The latter is a track so rocking you’d scarcely believe it’s about a subject as Canadian as snow. “Waiting to be Discovered” also fits into this category and is a sharp and witty piece about someone “sitting on their ass waiting to be discovered.”
“True Patriot Love” is another fiendishly clever song that incorporates a story of a lost love with the national anthems of both Canada and the United States while “My Failing Health” is the slowest and most depressing song of them all.
This album’s going to be available in many different formats so check out the New Scotland Records website for more details. The album will be out tomorrow (June 14) on New Scotland Records, Plaskett’s own record label.
Top Tracks: “When I Go”; “Snowed In”; “Clueless Wonder”; “Extraordinary”