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Hey Oh… Ottawa

Here’s a nice review from the Ottawa Citizen, courtesy of Peter Simpson. And, by the way, that Capital Music Hall show in Ottawa is coming up fast (May 5th) and – last time I checked – it’s pretty close to sold out, just so you know…
 Smokin’ Plaskett
Peter Simpson, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ashtray Rock: Rating 4

The Joel Plaskett Emergency (

“As a fan in Ottawa said this week, Joel Plaskett’s music is not complex, but it’s always solid, fun and ‘as catchy as hell.’

Ashtray Rock will bolster that reputation. The fourth album from the Halifax-based musician with the Emergency starts off with a rocker that muscles up hints of his Thrush Hermit days, and will serve nicely as a summer anthem. “Drunk teenagers, let’s start a fight/ out getting wasted on a Saturday night … the city or the country, we just want to make some noise.”

The fun comes in the wordplay, and in the blips of falsetto vocals — the backup singers chirping out “fashionable!” or, as incongruous as it may seem, “Bayer’s Road Shopping Mall!” — and in the trademark spritely hooks that dot any music that involves Plaskett and an electric guitar. There are even hints of doo-wop on Penny for Your Thoughts. Plaskett is a composer of serious talent, and part of his strength is that he knows to never take rock too seriously.

There are a few anxious moments when Plaskett wheels in a string section on Nothing More to Say and Chinatown — symphonic snippets are a common urge that, regrettably, many rockers can’t resist — but he avoids stepping in the overwrought cheese. The solid hand of his writing and performing keeps its grip throughout.

It’s all a concept album, it seems, about a couple of teen rockers with their own Yoko, but the themes are so typically Plaskett that you’d never notice. Anyhow, who cares? It’s Saturday. Let’s get drunk.”