Release Date: Aug 5, 2016
Record label: Last Gang Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Arkells are Canada’s best kept secret. The Hamilton-based rock band has been hugely successful in the Canadian market, winning four Juno Awards over the course of their career and earning gold status on their last album, High Noon, and now, with the much-anticipated release of their fourth studio album, Morning Report out on Last Gang Records/eOne, they’re ready to take the world by storm. The five-piece band—made up of Max Kerman (vocals, guitar), Nick Dika (bass), Mike DeAngelis (guitar), Tim Oxford (drums) and Anthony Carone (keys)—has spent most of the summer at some of the biggest music festivals in the U.S., including Bonnaroo, Firefly and Lollapalooza.
Since making their debut in 2008, Juno-collecting alt-rockers the Arkells have continued to gradually increase the size of both their musical tent and the amount of fans within it. The Hamilton, Ontario-bred quintet first emerged as a sweaty blue-collar rock outfit with Springsteen-ian ambitions, then, over the course of two more albums, added various amounts of pop sparkle and stadium bombast. With 2014's Tony Hoffer-produced High Noon, they boldly set their sights on the big leagues, delivering a colorful and often grandiose set that brimmed with bright melodies and '80s-inspired synths.
Since the release of Jackson Square in 2008, Arkells have steadily moved away from the rock'n'soul of their debut in search of more pop-friendly sounds. That isn't to say the change hasn't served them well; the band's most commercial effort to date, High Noon, earned them a gold certification in Canada on the strength of popular live set staples "Leather Jacket," "Come to Light" and "11:11. "Morning Report, the band's fourth record, plays by this book for a large portion of the listen, dishing out incredibly tuneful pop rock that's heavy on the hooks.
Over the past 10 years, Hamilton's Arkells have become, as their label boasts, "the most-played band on Canadian alt-rock radio." True to the Steeltown archetype, they're persistent and play no-frills rock, tour relentlessly and assume the role of the amiable underdog in their scene. But with their fourth album, Arkells seem poised to take the next step. As with many bands that survive a decade together, Arkells have decided not to stick with the sound - in their case, Springsteenian rock anthems - that got them this far.