As buyers of independent music wade through this year’s yield of releases, they would do well to revisit an album released last fall whose wealth of substance would be a shame to overlook. Get Hot, the debut offering from Vancouver area outfit The Poison Dart, displays the band’s ability to cleverly intermingle elements of folk, lo-fi, and retro pop (several of the more richly orchestrated tracks put a modern spin on the majesty of a bygone era where the Spectors and Bacharachs of the world saw the arrangement as king) while centering their songs around first-rate vocals and laid-back but focused instrumental support. Megan McDonald handles the lion’s share of vocal duties (though contributions from bandmates Alexander Mahan and Jay Arner add depth and compliment); she is a strong, confident guide through an album that does not suffer a weak track. From the opening strains of “I Was Not Made to Reproduce” through the extended outro of closer “Crazy Horce”, each of the album’s fourteen songs serve as connective tissue in the creation of a consistent quality of sound. Standout moments include the lush layering of McDonald’s voice on “Bands Keep Playing” and the punch-packing wake up call offered in “Pamphleteers” as a chorus of vocals gives lift to McDonald’s cry for social improvement.
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