[10 July 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
The Provincial Archive is a Canadian group that has been around, having released two albums independently. However, they have just signed to Black Box Music, which positions them on the cusp of bigger and better things. And their first release for Black Box, the Hide Like a Secret EP, couldn’t be bigger and better. Even though it is just four songs clocking in at 14 minutes, it leaves the listener wanting more and more. If you’re into or even remotely interested in folk rock, this is the EP for you. “Daisy Garden” is a lilting number that opens the EP with a memorable melody. “The Pointe Work”, on the other hand, carries a much more folksy melody of an East Coast Canada, ramshackle nature. And “Young & Bloodless” is a much more rocking song, one that is memorable for all of its “who-hoos” in the chorus. But what this EP might be most remembered for is the fourth and final track: a reading of Elliot Smith’s “Son of Sam”. This cover clearly keeps the folksy nature of what came before and remains faithful. It’s a sterling rendition.
Overall, my main carp is that this EP is too short. I want to hear what this band is capable of on a full length release, though I and listeners may get that chance when the band releases their next full length album sometime in the late summer. As it stands, though, the Hide Like a Secret EP is a short record of promise, of hopefulness, and there’s much in the way here that offers a certain clarity of sound. This is an exceptional release, and I can’t wait to see what else this band has to offer.