Coach StrobCam (Independent)
My favourite song on Coach StrobCam’s debut six-song CD EP is, by far, “The Problem”, which manages to insinuate itself into the listener’s psyche with the apparent intent of provoking an anxiety attack. This is thanks to an insistent chorus by Pete Campbell of “The problem is you”—the last word delivered like he’s pointing his finger square at you, leaving you no room to deflect.
I much prefer that song to the almost spiritual sweetness and apparently sincere sense of gratitude that inform “Milk and Honey”, but it’s remarkable nonetheless that the EP—with keyboards and accordions by Greg “Coach” Kelly and honey-sweet harmonies from Rachel Strobl—manages to span such a range, in the course of a mere six songs. I described it in an interview with Campbell on the Straight website as what might happen if Ray Davies wrote songs with Burt Bacharach, and it’s still the closest I can come to an apt description of Campbell’s songwriting this time out, but it sure is nice to see that the long-time David M. collaborator and former member of Pink Steel, the Wardells, and the Sweaters hasn’t lost his touch.
This is probably the prettiest, easiest-to-listen-to music of Campbell’s long and undersung career, offering a truly unique flavour of smart Vancouver pop; it also (hint) makes a pretty great headphones album.