…in your room in Brandon Hall

By Noah Salo.

Michigan Left
Universal, 2011

Second albums are tough, especially for artists who achieve a moderate level of success with their debut. With three big hits on rock radio, Hamilton’s own Arkells definitely achieved success. For their sophomore Michigan Left they decided to up the ambition, producing the album themselves and as well as designing the album artwork.

The music here is not as catchy as that of their first album, but it is more song oriented, and this yields more consistency and maturity to the record. The band still lays the poppy rock hooks on thick with such great tunes as “Book Ends” and the title track; so don’t fear that maturity means inaccessible.

The biggest highlight for this Hamiltonian is the band’s strikingly local lyrics: references to this city abound, with songs about Ivor Wynne Stadium and McMaster’s Brandon Hall. The title track discusses the band’s confusion with the dreaded “Michigan left” turn, and for any Canadian who’s been there, the feeling is mutual!

Again the Arkells impress, and do so while repping their hometown. So the next time you’re heading to the Ti-Cats game, make sure to blast “Kiss Cam” and sing along!

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