Sonic Avenues - Mistakes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sonic Avenues

Mistakes (2014)

Dirtnap Records

There’s something mysterious going on in Canada. How do they rule pop punk so hard?

It’s incredible, the wave of quality punk flooding from our charming neighbors to the north. Is it the water? The governmental sponsorship of the arts? All that good weed? Band after band continue to arrive on the scene, upping the score by nudges and shoves, making us U.S.-and-A.’ers look like total no-talent buttholes in the process. This wave of excellent Canadian rock n’ roll includes Montreal’s Sonic Avenues, a band I was introduced to with the 2012 album Television Youth, a blast of energetic, hook-laden power-pop overflowing with the youthful vigor and electric buzz of the Exploding Hearts. But there was something more to Sonic Avenues, as if they had taken just a few more music lessons as kids, had jammed just a handful more times in the garage. They played power-pop with a little extra something behind it.

With Mistakes, the Aves find themselves playing the same brand of fuzzy pop-punk, keeping the fi low and the tempo high. Highlights include the second song on the album, “Automatic,” a boppy little number with a chorus that will haunt your dreams like Freddy Krueger, “Tired, Bored & Alone,” a sugar-high surge of Marked Men-inspired angst, and solemn album closer “Lost & Found."

Whereas Television Youth managed to sound rough around the edges while still possessing a certain easily digestable sheen, Mistakes is even less polished, sounding at times a little muddy, at other times a little on the flat side, yet still instilled throughout with signature fuzziness. And while the choruses don’t soar quite as high or as consistently as on previous efforts, there’s still plenty to chew on within the album’s 11 songs, all of which serve as a fine addition to not only Sonic Avenue’s catalog, but also to the hallowed coffers of their much-revered label, Dirtnap Records.

And it’s another hit for Canada. O, Canada!