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Album cover "Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test" featuring Joel's legs in jeans lying on a bench with LPs underneath and polaroids above

After a couple years of acting as producer, Joel Plaskett, one of Canada’s most celebrated (and delightful) indie songwriters, is returning to the spotlight – which he’s willing to share with a whole group of friends. Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test will mark a new stage in his career, as a new album and backing band line-up. Acting as an expanded version of his band The Emergency, The Park Avenue Sobriety Test will also feature members of his former band Thrush Hermit, East Coast musical neighbours, and occasional guest stars including Mo Kenney, JP Cormier, and Dave Marsh.

“The album is about a 39-year old wrestling with his place on earth and society, navigating it.” Plaskett stated in a press release. “It sounds banal, and it kind of is, but it’s important to me. And maybe if you’re at the same point in your life that I am, it will make sense. As you get more experiences as an adult, you start notching up the lost friends, and the missed opportunities, and the way things could or couldn’t have gone. You can choose to crumble or retreat, temporarily or permanently. Or you power through it and look for the joy. I think I try to strike the balance of the two perspectives here, I really can feel both of those at certain times, and even the same time. “

The title track, “The Park Avenue Sobriety Test”, was released this week on Soundcloud. Plaskett’s charming songwriting is on full display, here enhanced by gang-vocal back-ups, pushing the chorus into sing-along territory.

Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test, his ninth studio album and first since 2012’s Scrappy Happiness, will be available March 17 through Pheromone Recordings. A comprehensive Canadian tour is planned for the spring, and kicks off April 28 in Miramicihi, NB at Carrefour Beausoleil. For more dates and info, head here.

by Noah Siegel, New Canadian Music