Statues - Aux. (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Aux. (2005)


Sudbury's an interesting town for a rock band to come from. As the city that divides populated southern Ontario and the expanse to the north it's a gateway of sorts. I know more people who've passed through it to get onto the Trans-Canada than I know people who've actually been there as destination. For its location it's quite sizably populated, more so than towns in the south that manage to host their own scenes, but geographically it's just far enough away to make those necessary trips to the centre of the universe in Toronto more than a tad inconvenient. So the fact that rock bands gestate there, slightly removed from the usual golden horseshoe towns, is fascinating; I doubt there's much of a touring circuit between the Big Nickel and, say, Espanola.

The three members of Statues all served time in long-running Sudbury-based mod band the Havocs, and the sensibilities of that style indeed carry over to their debut full-length Aux. The record's a mix of late 70's punk and power pop, heavier on the latter. Their press makes a point of comparing them to the Jam or Ted Leo And The Pharmacists, and while that's not an unreasonable connection to make, it's a tad optimistic. Paul Weller and Mr. Leo are the type of vocalists who could sing you the phone book and still be instantly identifiable. Statues vocalist/guitarist Rob Seaton isn't at that level yet, but he shows a ton of promise over these 13 songs. If the band continues to write kinetic, hook-filled tracks like the album-opening "Fine Tuned" or midway point "Picket," then they're well on their way. There are shades of the Weakerthans and the Frenetics in songs like "Still There Are The Ones," maybe not in direct influence but definitely in the atmosphere created. Seaton has a knack for writing really killer choruses, and it's that secret weapon which elevates tracks like "Step Up" to memorable heights. There are a few select songs where the band's energetic performance stumbles, and the production's hollow at times, but Aux is a strong debut regardless.

This album was reportedly recorded before the band ever played live, which is pretty incredible since Seaton and the brothers Houle (drummer Jeff, and bassist Mitch) sound quite tight here. This is still a young band though, and one assumes that the time spent on the road since those 2004 sessions will make their followup quite a step forward. Aux is an energetic little record where great songwriting overshadows a few rough spots, and I can't wait to hear Statues take things from here.