Growing up in high school circa mid-2000s, I had a bit of a stark realization: of the rock music my classmates and I listened to, most were by bands who had their primes in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Walk down the halls and you can see shirts emblazoned with The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or the Guns N’ Roses. Suddenly, listening to Dadrock (Unclerock? older Cousinrock?) was cool and Q107 was the radio station of choice.
What this meant for modern rock music of the 2000s is another story. Instead, what should be considered: we can expect a new generation of Canadians with a taste for classic rock, and a new generation of Canadians to play it to them.
And here we are in 2014, with a band whose name already bespeaks the stylings of vintage hard rock: The Lad Classic. Formed in Toronto in 2010, The Lad Classic follows that time-honoured four-piece pattern: Paul Stevens belting it out on vocals, Ben Healey shredding it on guitar, Mark Rynkun on bass duties, and Josiah Whitney on drums.
Last year, The Lad Classic made their recording debut with the EP Lightning. Curiously, the band chose to start off with an all-acoustic release. But this group are evidently big believers in duality, as their latest EP Thunder plugs those same songs into the amp–and the results are electrifying.
Where songs like “Cadillac Jack” and “Blow Out” previously sounded nice enough on Lightning, here on Thunder they morph into aurally-charged wrecking balls. In particular, “Cadillac Jack”, which opens the EP, is a piercing distillation of The Lad Classic’s sound: mind-wiping riffs, big bang choruses, and Stevens wailing with all he’s got–which is plenty.
The standout track, though, is “Another One”. An absolutely invigorating piece of hard rock, Stevens takes the typical tale of love gone astray and howls all over it, all the while the backing band blisters through. Ballad, it ain’t.
With Damon de Szegheo‘s crisp production, Thunder is the kind of album that lives up to the name on the cover. The guitar may wail, the bass deepens, the drums smash and the vocals soar, but all four elements are well-balanced that none are overpowering over the other, and they work together to bring a wave of sound crashing upon the listener.
With only five songs, Thunder is a brisk listen, yet perfect for those summer drives on the highway with the windows rolled down and the stereo on full blast. It will be interesting to see whether The Lad Classic’s vintage brand of rock will translate to a full-length LP, so keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for what these Toronto lads bring next.
Check out The Lad Classic!
Author: Nathan Christie