Attaching wall-of-sound-like illusions to a swaying, arena-friendly beat, the synth-flavored rock’n’roll of “Hey Judas” is big-bodied from the get-go. And that’s even before we get to the wordless sing-along at the end of the chorus, which graduates from arena- to stadium-sized.
And yet note how it’s not really that easy to sing along with, that wordless sing-along part (1:16). It’s comprised of unexpected leaps and sly intervals and finishes not with a grand finale but with an evasive syncopation. It’s a large gesture at the center of a large-gestured song and yet is also some wonderfully subtle music hiding in plain sight. As such it has a kind of ripple effect on the rest of the song. I’m listening more closely. Some of it is indeed as straightforward as it seems (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). But there are synth lines here, lyrical flourishes there, melodic angles elsewhere that dance through “Hey Judas” and give this swelling, swaggering tune an intriguing soupçon of craftiness. I kinda like that.
Fine Times is the Vancouver-based duo of vocalist/keyboardist Matthew Moldowan and bassist Jeffrey Josiah Powell. Most recently together in a band called 16mm, the two emerged as a band in their own right late in 2010 and shortly thereafter, apparently, producer Howard Redekopp (The New Pornographers, The Zolas, Tegan & Sara) gave them access to his spiffy collection of vintage synthesizers. So the unmistakable ’80s keyboards here are nothing if not authentic. (For good measure, check their worthy cover of “Enola Gay,” below.) “Hey Judas” is a track from the duo’s self-titled debut, which was released this week on Light Organ Records. MP3 via Magnet Magazine.
photo credit: Mathew Smith