Free and legal MP3: Two Hours Traffic (crackling power pop from Canada)

Two Hours Traffic

“Noisemaker” – Two Hours Traffic

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: sharp, catchy, summertime pop from our impressively talented musical neighbors to the north. That’s more like it, eh?

This song has many things to love, and right away. First, the brisk, ringing guitar intro, which is not merely a persuasive opening salvo, but sounds brilliant following just about any other song on a playlist. Try it at home, you’ll see. Second, the way the voices join in, singing wordlessly, with the brisk, ringing guitars. Subtle and wonderful. Third, the fleet, wonderful sidestep taken from that guitar riff into the “oooooh” that opens the verse. Nifty, effortless little chord progression there. And then, oh boy, what about that “oooooh” itself? Straight out of the power pop handbook (Shoes, anyone?) and yet also a surprise coming right at the beginning like that. If they didn’t have me at hello, they surely had me at “oooooh.” The song is now about 23 seconds old. (And lasts 3:41–also as per the power pop handbook.)

Singer Liam Corcoran has just the right kind of spirited tenor required to make this crackle and resonate. It’s about energy, not content, as the thing about great power pop is that no one has to be singing about anything that is in itself all that powerful or intriguing; rather, there’s something in the music and presentation that makes whatever is being sung pretty much besides the point. It’s all deep and mysterious when the melody’s there, and the chords, and the unflagging energy of a band that knows it’s onto something. Songs like this often push that extra bit harder to knock your socks off, and I hear that here in the second half of the chorus, which uses a bit of unanticipated repetition to add an almost giddily satisfying resolution beyond the basic hook.

Two Hours Traffic is a foursome from Prince Edward Island. “Noisemaker” is the lead track (of course) from the band’s third album, Territory, which was released last year in Canada, and is due out in the U.S. in September via Bumstead Productions.

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