Release Date: Feb 24, 2009
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
It's been five long years since Reg Vermue released his last record. If he'd waited any longer, no one would have remember him. Thankfully, his latest, and first on Arts & Crafts, will keep his delicate voice on people's minds for a long time. [rssbreak] Reg has matured a lot, and Jet Black is easily the most dynamic and upbeat record of his career.
If you stumbled upon Gentleman Reg Vermue's SIM Card, you'd likely be able to prank-call most of Canada's indie rock luminaries: Arcade Fire's Tim Kingbury (with whom he was in an early band); the Hidden Cameras, Final Fantasy, and Broken Social Scene, with whom he's performed; and the Constanines' Bry Webb (Reg's first two albums were on Three Gut), Land of Talk's Elizabeth Powell, Greg Millson from Great Lake Swimmers, and Katie Sketch from the Organ, all of whom guest on Jet Black, Vermue's first album for, you guessed it, Arts & Crafts. "To Some It Comes Easy" might even trigger some to reach for the liners to check if they're hearing Kevin Drew on guitar and Emily Haines on vocals. Yet despite the fact that Vermue's a walking Six-Degrees-of-Canadian-Indie, he more than distinguishes himself on Jet Black.
Reg Vermue's 2009 offering is a quirky, ramshackle blend of fey, soulful vocals and mid-fi indie rock with some alternative electronic beats thrown in for good measure. It's a hit-or-miss affair as Vermue filters influences like glam rock, the blues, blue-eyed soul, and 1990s-style alternative disco à la the Pet Shop Boys. Vermue has an unconventional gruff yet high voice, and the album ebbs and flows based on how well that voice fits the particular genre he's surfing at the moment.
The stage name of singer-songwriter Reg Vermue, Gentleman Reg, could not have been chosen more appropriately. Over the course of his first three albums, Reg made tuneful folk-pop of the most polite, unobtrusive variety. Stately in the popular mode of post-millennial indie-rock’s fixation with ornate arrangements and acute professionalism, but lacking in the grand orchestral drama of genre stalwarts Arcade Fire or Sufjan Stevens, Reg’s most distinctive feature may be his fey, slightly off-key vocal style.