Release Date: May 10, 2011
Record label: Rounder
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, American Trad Rock
Sam Roberts' fifth album Collider finds the Canadian rocker doing what he does best: cranking out thoughtful, melodic, midtempo rockers that hit the sweet spot between radio-friendly slickness and singer/songwriter intelligence and deliver almost an hour of classic rock-inspired goodness. While some of his records in the past have toyed with alt-rock noise jams or sweeping prog rock concepts, this time out he’s content to stick to the middle of the road. This isn’t a criticism at all.
A clean, unassuming suggestion of shows to come Several acclaimed albums and an endless tour blur into their career, the members of the Sam Roberts Band have arguably climbed alongside the Tragically Hip on the list of always-rans hiding in plain sight north of the US border. Like the Hip, the band seems all but designed for giant open-air expositions to legions of committed but polite pan-rockist fans, and on Collider, Roberts and company continue to expand the basic sonic range of their offerings. At times, though, this range hampers the would-be vibe of the record, as the Strokes/Stripes-lite crunch of “Sang Froid” harshes the more effortless mellows of “Let It In,” “Without A Map” or “No Arrows.
SAM ROBERTS BAND play Massey Hall June 3 and 4. See listing. Rating: NNN It's kind of strange that this is the first album credited to the Sam Roberts Band; it actually sounds less like his live band than any of his previous recordings under his own name. Bringing in members of Califone and Antibalas alongside producer Brian Deck, Roberts dresses up his meat-and-potatoes pop/rock with horns, synths and percussion, presumably in an effort to sound more contemporary and edgy.