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Canada: reCycled

So how does an Italian band from Rimini end up with the name Canada? Well I'm guessing that the bonus track (does anyone really know what actually constitutes a "bonus" anymore..?) on this short EP gives a hefty clue, with Rush's "Tom Sawyer" being given the once over.

Canada's history (the band not the country...) stretches back to the mid 80's with a host of demos and singles being released, before the band split, reformed and split again. Those early efforts were gathered together under the name Afterimage, and in 2010 released as an album. During which time Canada reconvened once more.

With the exception of the Rush cover, reCycled is a collection of four old songs rearranged and rerecorded, revealing a sharp mixture of Prog and AOR. Yes Rush are an influence, but then so are Asia, Journey and Dream Theater and while not all of these ideas are weaved into all of the four original songs on this EP, the clash of genre styles does hold the interest. "Eyes On You" finds the three piece of Tiziano Fabiani (drums), Massimo Arke (bass) and Massimo Cillo (bass, vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, rhythm guitar, bass pedals, mandolin, percussion, kitchen sink and whatever else he can lay his over worked hands on) spitting out a sharp riff that sits somewhere between Vanden Plas and Pagan's Mind. Add some flouncyish keyboards a wailing Prog Metal guitar solo and Cillo's overly effects ladened voice and the mix is rather heady. It is also catchy as hell and damn good fun! Emphasising the point further "Don't Throw Your Heart" dazzles with Proggy guitar scales and intricate arrangements during its verse, before taking a sharp left into a simply constructed sing along chorus. The instrumentation on both songs is crisp, sharp and impressive, with the guitars leaving a lasting impression, the bass roaming and rampaging, while Fabiani's kit gets a fair workout. Vocals however are more of an issue....

Bringing a far greater AOR sheen to proceedings, "Angel Of The City" eschews much of the Proggier side of things to head into Rush-lite via Journey. I have to say as a fan of both bands - and the genres they cover, Canada might well be onto something here. Although whether another act from the country these Italians hold so dear, Saga, haven't already beaten them too it, is open to conjecture. "Never Surrender" belies its Rush leanings right from the "YYZ" styled chimes intro, with the nod being further emphasised via an Alex Lifeson like guitar solo and the fact the song remains vocal less.

Ah yes, the vocals. Well I'm a sucker for an "accented" voice. Give me Klaus Meine, Udo Dirkschnieder or Genki Hitomi (Vow Wow) and I'm more than happy. However when Cillo attempts the vocals on "Tom Sawyer", his lack of range and ability to properly pronounce the words at the speed they are intended to be delivered, is an undoubted distraction (and I say that as someone who is half Italian). The attempt at this iconic song also proves to be a little beyond Canada and while it isn't awful, it really serves little purpose, other than to bring down the overall standard of a very interesting EP.

If Canada could expand out to a four-piece with a dedicated (read better) singer, then they really could be on to something with their interesting ProgAOR. A new album is in the offing and I'm interested to hear it!

Track Listing
1. Eyes On You
2. Don't Throw Your Heart
3. Angel Of The City
4. Never Surrender
5. Tom Sawyer

Added: March 24th 2012
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Canada Online
Hits: 2895
Language: english

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