Album Review: The A Listers ‘OPA’

12321404_586352404856529_3574945809194785122_nRate: 10/10

For Fans Of: The White Stripes, BBQ Pope, SWMRS

Favorite Tracks: Livin’ On a Dollar, Apollo Man, Purity Child 

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending The A Listers EP release show for ‘OPA’ (released on independent record company, Fried Records) at the Rivoli in Toronto. After having to momentarily cancel the release show due to venue troubles, it happened with the support of local bands Frankie The Pig and BBQ Pope. Owen Wolff (vocals/guitar), Bug Noble-Nestor (vocals/guitar), Duncan Ross (drums/percussion) and Owen Gardner (bass) make up the alternative rock band. The bands garage sound mixed with Wolff’s jazzy voice is enough to separate their sound from the other alternative rock bands around the city.

The A Listers (from the left: Owen Gardner, Duncan Ross, Owen Wolff, and Bug Noble-Nestor) before their set @ the Rivoli

You can check out the EP here and read the track by track review below.

Track 1: Anthologies Full of Empty Words

A strong intro including a tinge of jazz along with deep bass lines draws listeners in to Anthologies Full of Empty Words. Owen Wolff’s vocals mixed with Bug Noble-Nestor’s sweet melodies. The fast tempo on the bridge will get you moshing with the thrashing of percussion mixed with the guitar and bass make for an interesting clash of sound. The band reaches for a more hardcore sound.

Track 2: Livin’ On a Dollar

A old-time voice mixed with the strong undertone of the bass mixed with that sweet guitar solo, brings listeners Livin’ On a Dollar. When the band strips the song down to just Wolff’s voice and Ross’s percussion, the audience is in for a trip. The A Listers are quick with their change in tempo’s, often speeding it up between chorus’s to add more jazz-funk vibes.

Track 3: Apollo Man 

A slow intro, beginning with just the guitar to get the audience interested, the bass line is quick to pull you in. The simple melody mixed with. A catchy chorus is all that’s need to keep the audience on its feet and ready for whatever is next. The lyrics are relatable with “Mr Apollo Man, can you hear me scream?” I definitely dig the repeated chorus mixed with the soft bridge in between.

Track 4: E-Street Blues

A long intro with Wolff’s voice bringing out the true blues sound of The A Listers, listeners will be moved to the deep bass of riffs of Gardner. Ross’s percussion is more complex, cymbals crashing along with the sweet melody of the electric guitars played by Wolff and Noble-Nestor. Wait for fade out of chords and be transformed by the softer ending.

Track 5: Purity Child 

An upbeat, jazz induced song, The A Listers bring you Purity Child, ready for dancing and swaying along. Wolff’s melodic voice is one to keep you guessing, able to transcend from loud softcore to slow blues. Ready for dancing, the band slows it down for the audience only to liven up the party once more. The change in tempo will get you bopping along and ready to mosh as they speed it up again, bass and guitar playing an important melodic part. Definitely a song to get your feet moving!

Track 6: Watch Me Be Free 

The guitar intro is small and sweet, giving away to Owen Wolff’s soundly voice. Watch Me Be Free is a ballad, ready for slow dances. Can it get any better than this? The lyrics are relatable. And then, as The A Listers do so well, the tempo starts to speed up!

Track 7: Children With Gas Money

Starting with Wolff’s sole voice and keeping it going with some bass and guitar, The A Listers are bringing it. More of a dancing song than the last, the band keeps the party going with some Children With Gas Money. The whole band are moving towards a garage-rock sound by the end of the album. An intense guitar solo brings the song full circle, ending with a Wolff shouting “OPA”!

You can check out the rest of the photos from the EP Release Show here.

Blaire Norton



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